Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. Fundraiser March 30
2. District Budget Update
3. State Budget Update
4. MLK Center Event April 2
1) Fundraiser March 30
Every election has expenses. We hope you will give generously to the campaign. But it doesn’t have to be all pain and sacrifice! We are planning a real fun and enjoyable event!
This evening is going to be big! Come for the music of Spyro Gyra’s Jeremy Wall and Motherland Rhythms’ Arthur Lorde, hear from our 2017 candidates, enjoy light refreshments, and help us reach our $5,000 goal for campaign supplies. RSVP at www.strongeastramapo.org/rsvp now.
Thursday, March 30 at 7 p.m.
The Nagin Residence, 23 Dogwood Lane, Pomona
If you cannot make it but wish to donate, please visit:
2) District Budget Update
By Dr. Andrew Mandel
Few people were able to attend the March 16 community budget meeting and board meeting — including three missing board members, though we had three candidates there (Allie, Chevon and Eric!) ready and willing to take their place — but there was a lot to like and a lot to ponder.
Great that the superintendent is planning for more special education collaborative and bilingual classes, more assistants in kindergarten, more summer school slots, more advanced classes in the high school, and many other additions.
Great that high school administrators took a tour of other county high schools, learned that East Ramapo has shorter class periods than anyone else, and advanced a proposal to increase instructional time and electives for kids.
Great that Dr. Wortham took feedback during the budget meeting and pledged to address areas, such as parent engagement, not currently covered by the new budget plan.
Dr. Wortham and I don’t quite agree about what restorative justice requires — she’s focused on prevention, whereas I also see a need for positive intervention — but I believe her data-driven, alignment-focused, growth-mindset-fueled approach does reflect strong school reform practice. I will take her up on her offer to walk through the schools and share more of what I observe.
In the meantime, I encourage everyone to participate in the two other community budget meetings (March 21 and 23 at 6 pm at 105 S. Madison) to share what you want to see in district schools.
One observation: I understand the obsession with positivity, but it sometimes can create more skepticism than it aims to snuff out. For example, I wanted to hear the liabilities of a “unit lunch” schedule, which I imagine could confuse students whose class sequence would change every day, but administrators focused on cheerleading the plan. Trust the public with the good, the bad and the ugly. Maybe it seems counter-intuitive, but that approach will breed more good will than a happy dance alone.
3) State Budget Update
Education is a key part of the NY State budget as well. Each year, budget proposals are made by the Governor, the Senate, and the Assembly. This year, only the Assembly version will fully fund foundation aid. Foundation aid is distributed based on student poverty, students with disabilities and English language learners.
An attempt to amend the Senate Education Budget to include the full foundation aid was not supported by the IDC (Independent Democratic Caucus) of which our own Senator Carlucci is a member.
According to the Alliance for Quality Education, “East Ramapo is owed $20.6 million in Foundation Aid under existing law and would receive this under the plan passed by the State Assembly. However, the Carlucci-IDC-GOP proposal would gut the Foundation Aid formula and dramatically shortchange East Ramapo.”
Tell Senator Carlucci you want NY State to live up to its obligation to fully fund foundation aid now: http://org.salsalabs.com/o/425/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=21384
4) MLK Center Event April 2
The MLK Center will hold it’s 26th Annual Awards Benefit Gala on Sunday, April 2nd, from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at The Clubhouse at Patriot Hills.
This year they are honoring two from East Ramapo, Dr. Wortham and Mr. Arciniegas!
For more information call 845-425-8910