Eye on Albany

Once again, the fight to assure the future of Catholic schools goes on in our state of New York. The question of aid for mandated services, which many of our young people need to be successful in school (and, later on, in life), is in grave danger of being slashed severely.

The State Education Department which allots the aid for these mandated services, which include areas of basic education like reading and math assistance and English as a second language, Regent Exams and even calculators, is now forcing numerous schools, especially our Catholic schools and academies, to use a new formula to calculate their need, which in turn the State Education Department will use to allot that aid. The new formula cuts the amount of reimbursement to Catholic schools and academies.

These are services that must be provided by the schools because the state government demands. They also include attendance and record keeping and the administration of state examinations.

The Republicans in the State Senate, led by Senator John J. Flanagan (Temporary President and Majority Leader), have proposed legislation to stop the Education Department from making these cuts.

It is an uphill battle, but you can help! Only three weeks remain before the 2017 legislative session ends (June 21). Make your voice heard for the future of quality Catholic education by writing a message voicing your opposition to the cut in mandated services and in support of Catholic schools.

It’s simple log-on to the website of the New York State Catholic Conference www.nyscatholic.org and click on the take action button. Respond and compose a message (or use the one provided) to our Governor and other elected officials. The future of educated New Yorkers and Americans, Catholics and non-Catholics, depend on it!

Most of all, stay attuned to what happens to this proposal. An educated constituency is a responsible constituency that is listened to. Too often our local politicians leave important legislation to the last minute, pass them in the early hours of the morning, and then flee the state capital before anyone notices. Make your representatives accountable to you!