2019 School Budget Statement
2019 School Budget Statement
This is the image for the news article titled 2019 School Budget StatementThe 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, guided by the district mission statement, with a focus on students at its core. This budget promises exciting instructional additions and enhancements for all students in grades K through 12, 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 training 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 new secured vestibules in many school buildings, an upgraded district-wide visitor management system, audible alarms on all exit doors at primary and elementary schools, cameras and GPS identifies on school buses, and a district-wide security consultant who has helped usher in many of these security upgrades. 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 strongly supports the 2019-2020 school budget.  We also support the proposition on the ballot that will permit the use of the remaining funds in the Capital Reserve established in 2015 to complete important capital improvements at the Middle School and the High School.  Additionally, we support the proposition on the ballot that will establish a new Capital Reserve that may be funded up to $15.8 million dollars for the next ten years.  We urge all community members to vote “YES” for the budget and these additional propositions on May 21st, in support of our children, public education, and community.  

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.