Indian Lake Tuesday, Feb. 6, found both Indian Lake town and school board members in a rare joint meeting to foster greater cross-communication, united thinking and a concerted effort in meeting the challenges faced in growing the town and enriching the lives of its residents.
President of the Indian Lake Board of Education Jon Voorhees opened the meeting by saying that, ”This meeting comes at a very opportune time for our school district in that we have recently been notified that state aid for our district will be decreasing 16.2 percent, translating into $730 per student. I believe that the Town Board could be constructive in helping us do a good job for the taxpayer without short changing the kids”.
ILBOE members are perplexed because, in the presentation of his executive budget, Governor Andrew Cuomo pointed to an $889 million dollar (4.4 percent) increase in education aid, or $330 per student, statewide.
The decreases in aid are not limited to the Indian Lake Central School District because, according to Superintendent Mark Brand, schools across Hamilton County are facing 13.8 percent decreases in state aid.
“We have done everything the state has asked, including non-funded mandates” Brand said. “Now we face this loss and I see it as a major betrayal by the governor and the state that will have negative effects for the school, its students and our community.”
Superintendent Brand then handed out a copy of a letter dated February 4, 2013, that he wrote to school community members.
In it Brand outlines the entire issue in depth and calls for the community to form a united front in contacting state legislators, demanding “action that will not only restore our school aid but provide the increase the governor told us we could expect.”
Jon Voorhees voiced a request that members of both boards attend meetings of various community organizations to present the situation and the potential threats it poses to the well-being of the students and the community, and added that a united coalition to approach state legislators should be formed.