Federal funding cuts tor IDEA and Title I sucked $300,000 from next year’s revenue stream, moving those costs to the local taxpayer.
All of the increased costs are mandates, a fact that McGowan and the School Board have brought to the attention of lawmakers and State Education leaders in Albany.
“And we will continue to have the School District’s voice heard in Albany,” McGowan said.
“We’re involved in all the lobbying efforts. We also really need an economic-development project in Tupper Lake. Gaining the ability to move forward on the Adirondack Club and Resort project would help grow the tax base.”
Mandate relief should start with changes in the Annual Professional Performance Review plan, McGowan said.
“They should ease off on the requirements for that,” McGowan said of the teacher-review process, which he said consumes an unquantifiable amount of administrative time and school resources.
Performance Review plans were launched by State Ed two years ago and became mandatory this year.
“It came from Race to the Top,” McGowan said. “Tupper Lake received $26,000 in a one-shot deal. The impact to the district has exceeded that by 500 percent easily. And a lot of that $26,000 goes back to the regional BOCES for training. It’s very manipulated the way they’ve done this.”
The other impacts, from pension cost increases and rising health-insurance costs, are what McGowan terms “out of control.” The district has no choice but to pay whatever cost is assigned by the state.
McGowan said they are starting from a core of programs “to keep” and looking at all aspects of educational resources left in Tupper Lake.
“We always start with what we’re required to do. We have to preserve what is required by law.
“The second layer is student needs. We have students coming to school now with fewer skills in reading and simple vocabulary, for example. The priority is given to what we are required to do and to students’ need and where we can preserve programs for kids.
“That is what we are going to do.”
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