PTA Executive Committee 2019 Budget Statement

The Executive Committee of the Garden City PTA thanks the administration for your time, care, and tireless effort in preparing the budget for the 2019-2020 school year.  We also thank the Board of Education for your time and care in reviewing the budget.

We thank the members of our community who attended these budget presentations, asked questions of the administration, and showed an active interest in the future of our schools.  We thank those who participated in the New York State PTA advocacy campaign for increased state aid to public schools, and who continue to participate in our advocacy for school safety, which includes changing the laws regarding schools serving as public polling sites. We are confident that grassroots campaigns such as these raise awareness within our community, and to our elected representatives, about the critical issues that continue to face public education. As parents, our role as public education advocates cannot be overstated, and we must remain engaged in the school budget process by speaking on behalf of our students here in Garden City, and with our elected representatives in Albany.

We understand that many challenges face an administration in preparing a school budget, and a Board of Education in submitting that budget for public vote. A school budget must uphold our community’s high expectations for quality public education while maintaining the Board’s commitment to not exceed the allowable tax levy. This year, the budget does just that. It is at once fiscally conservative and academically ambitious, with a focus on students at its core.  This budget promises exciting instructional additions and enhancements for our students, including the expansion of FUNdations to second grade, the adoption of the Teachers’ College reading curriculum in grades K through 5, the expansion of the co-teaching model to the Kindergarten level, an emphasis on computer science programs, including the expansion of Project Lead the Way in the High School and its extension to the Middle School, the reimagining of our school libraries as lively media centers, and the continuation of this district’s commitment to the social-emotional education of students, and the professional development of staff, including the certification of staff members in the Wilson reading program.

We thank the administration for the improvements to school security that were funded in last year’s budget, and which will continue to be maintained in the 2019-2020 school budget.  These include the continuing installation of secured vestibules in all school buildings, an upgraded visitor management system in all school buildings, the installation of audible alarms on all exit doors at all primary and elementary buildings, the hiring of a district-wide security consultant, and the installation of cameras and GPS identifies on school buses.  The Executive Committee urges the administration and Board of Education to continue to examine security protocols at the district level, and commit to making necessary changes and upgrades as the need arises.

Looking ahead, we understand the continuing constraints facing our district, which include the potential for unexpected increases in student enrollment and student needs, education mandates that may outpace available funding sources, the continuing threat of reduced state aid to Garden City, and the recent state law that makes permanent the 2% property tax cap. We appreciate that such a situation is not sustainable in the long term, even in light of Garden City’s record of spending less per pupil than comparable districts. Accordingly, in the future, due to the constraints of the tax cap, piercing that cap may be both necessary and beneficial to maintain the quality education for which our school district and community is known.

The Executive Committee of the Garden City PTA supports the 2019-2020 school budget and urges all community members to vote “YES” in support of children, education, and community on May 21st.

We appreciate all of the Board of Education’s current and continuing efforts to meet the challenges ahead, and we encourage you to continue to work collaboratively with parents through PTA and SEPTA to tackle future challenges to our budget together.  

Thank you on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Garden City PTA.