The Sachem Legislative Committee, a body that focuses on state and local government policies that affect education, have distributed a letter to the community, pleading for them to participate in a massive letter-writing campaign. The campaign is aimed at restoring the $2 million in state aid the district is slated to lose.
From Committee Co-Chairs Dana Platin and Sal Tripi, the letter reads in its entirety:
Dear Sachem Resident,
This note is a plea for your assistance. Without additional assistance from the state, Sachem residents will face the most dramatic tax increase in recent history or we will be forced to make substantial cuts in the educational programs. You can help by contacting the Governor’s office as well as all state officials (see related link contact sheet below). Please tell them what a great community Sachem is. Tell them about your personal experiences with Sachem and how without additional aid our school district will experience severe and detrimental cuts.
The current State aid proposal, prepared and proposed by Gov. Cuomo, projects that Sachem will receive only $105,380,122 in state aid. This is close to 1 million dollars less than last year and far less than what was expected. In fact, the projected aid to Sachem is about the same as it was in 2005. In 2005, the Sachem community received $105.2M. In 2009 we received $119.2M (over $14 million more than we are projected to receive this year). Despite the reduction in aid, the NYS TRS payments, healthcare costs and overall operating costs have skyrocketed. Most notable, we have received NO relief at all to NYS mandated costs. All this has resulted in a current shortfall of over $26 million dollars.
If you recall, in recent years, the state has directed school districts to use all available reserves in order to fund the previous years’ budgets. At Sachem we did just that. Over the last few years we have virtually depleted all available reserves to maintain the programs during the financial crises. The state assured us that restoration in aid was “on the way”. Unfortunately our reserves are now at a dangerously low level and our auditors have called us a “district in financial distress”.
The Governor’s proposal has added several billion dollars for additional aid. Unfortunately, none of this is for Sachem. This is not acceptable. We need your support and action. Please call, email and send letters to the Governor and all of our elected officials. Tell them we cannot tolerate this and the entire Sachem community needs their support. Tell them all the great things that occur in our district. Tell them what Sachem means to you and why we need their help.
There is not much the administration and/or Board can do to make up such a deficit. Without additional aid from the state, we will be forced to either raise taxes over 16% or cut all programs other than basic required educational classes – nothing else – and substantially raise class size. This is not something that we can or should tolerate. Please see attached contact sheet of all state officials. Your help is urgently needed.
Dana Platin and Sal Tripi
Co-chairs, Sachem Legislative Committee
For a list of contact information for the representatives to be addressed, browse the photo gallery to this story.
Editor's Note: The list can also be viewed by clicking here.