Rye Schools Boss Eric Byrne is asking community members to lobby elected officials on behalf of New York State public schools.
Byrne and the board of ed report New York State needs $10-15 Billion in COVID-19 relief funding for public schools saying “Absent this amount, the New York State Budget Director will almost certainly have to make mid-fiscal year cuts to school aid on or about May 1 and throughout the fiscal year.”
Read the letter and directions on how to lobby your reps:
“Dear Rye Community Members,
We are writing today to ask for your help in our advocacy efforts to protect public education in New York State. COVID-19 has paralyzed and ravaged Westchester County and has significantly impacted the fiscal stability of NY State. Initially, the emotional toll on our community was overwhelming, but now we start to shift from reacting to the pandemic to functioning in a new reality.
The recently approved New York State budget provides no increase in school state aid from the prior year and, for the first time, the Governor has been granted the authority to adjust education aid during the next year. This leaves school districts across the state uncertain about how to plan and budget for the upcoming years.
We need Congress to approve additional relief funding to New York for education to fill the gap in the state budget and to protect education for our children. As such, the Board of Education has put together an advocacy letter for our community members to send to Federal legislators, asking them to advocate for financial support from the Federal Government to ensure that New York State can continue to support public education.
Below is an email that you can use to send to our Federal officials asking for their support. Please copy the message and use the links below to submit your email. It should only take a few minutes and will send this critically important message to our representatives.
Thank you for all of your collaboration and support. Be well and safe.
The RCSD Board of Education
Superintendent Dr. Eric Byrne
Contact Information for NYS Senators/Congressional Representatives
Senator Chuck Schumer
By Mail: Sen. Chuck Schumer
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
By Mail: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Representative Eliot Engel
By Mail: Rep. Eliot Engel
2426 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Representative Nita Lowey
By Mail: Rep. Nita Lowey
2365 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
I am a concerned public school parent/teacher/school board trustee/school administrator/community member in Westchester County, NY, where COVID-19 has paralyzed and ravaged our region. Initially, the emotional toll on our community was overwhelming. As we now start to shift from panic to a new reality, we as a community are realizing that the financial impact of COVID-19 will be far greater than we ever could have imagined.
We are grateful for your support of The CARES Act that has provided New York State the ability to enact a budget that essentially freezes current levels of support for our public schools. However, school district costs have not been frozen. Schools are currently and will continue to incur extraordinary costs (both instructional and operational) in the coming year as a result of this global pandemic. Key areas of current need are:
Mental health services for students, families, and staff
Instructional support for students
Health, safety, and sanitary protocol implementation
Safe school reopening protocols
New York State needs a minimum federal infusion of $10 to $15 billion dollars to adequately support schools and the aftermath of this pandemic. Absent this amount, the New York State Budget Director will almost certainly have to make mid-fiscal year cuts to school aid on or about May 1 and throughout the fiscal year. Cuts to school aid, especially once school budgets are finalized, will be detrimental for our students, our community, and public education.
As negotiations begin in Congress on a 4th COVID-19 relief package, I urge you to advocate for a significant influx of aid to the New York State government for public school districts. This aid should be targeted directly for public schools to be appropriated via an act of the NYS Legislature and Governor.
Thank you for your support of New York State, our children, and our public schools during this unprecedented time.
Your City, State, Zip
Your Phone Number”