THE COURIER: MANDATE RELEIF TOPIC OF ADVISORY COUNCIL
By: Douglas Cunningham
To combat unfunded mandates imposed on schools and local governments by the state, Senator Greg Ball of Patterson has developed a Mandate Relief Advisory Council.
Ball’s council and Mahopac Central School District Superintendent Thomas Manko will be hosting a Mandate Relief Roundtable at 11 AM on September 7 at Mahopac High School, located at 421 Baldwin Place Rd, in Mahopac.
Ball said that underfunded mandates drive up costs of schools, municipalities, and ultimately taxes. He said Albany has a long history of passing unfunded mandates down to local municipalities and schools. In part, these mandates have forced New York to have some of the highest taxes in the nation.
“Unfunded mandates are crushing our local governments and school districts all across the state. We need unfunded mandate relief and we need it now,” said Ball. “I am happy to host this roundtable with Superintendent Manko, to dig deeper into these burdensome testing requirements, local reporting nightmares and administrative bureaucracy. There are a myriad of opportunities for Albany to deliver relief.”
Manko said: “When it comes to paying for Albany’s and Washington’s unfunded and underfunded school mandates, school districts are left footing the bill. Here in Mahopac, we are proud of our K-12 educational program, which culminates in a Senior High School program that prepares students for college and the workforce and has been designated by Newsweek Magazine as one of ‘America’s Best’ for four consecutive years. However, we are drowning in unfunded and underfunded mandates that must be paid for by the taxpayer and consume nearly 18% of the district’s annual budget. If we continue at this rate, layoffs will increase at a rapid pace and cutting essential programs as a solution to balance the budget will become inevitable just to pay for these mandated programs and services.”
Manko said he’s happy to cohost the roundtable with Ball.
The roundtable agenda will include reviewing a survey of unfunded mandates, the mandate relief resolutions submit to Governor Cuomo’s Mandate Relief Council by schools and municipalities in the 40th Senate District and the mandates frequently raised in discussion with school administrators, municipalities, board members and the public.