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Brooks for NYS Senate: Current Funding of Public Education is Broken and Creates Tax Crisis State Wide

LongIsland.com

"New York is funding public education on the back of the homeowners across this state and it has created a crisis for school districts across the state.”

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The Brooks Plan has several key point that will insure every school district gets the needed funding but at the same time provides some expense controls in educational funding.

Photo by: Flavio Takemoto, via Free Images.

Long Island, NY - October 3, 2016 - State Senate Candidate and Former Seaford School Board Vice President says “the way we currently fund public education in New York is broken and beyond repair.  New York is funding public education on the back of the homeowners across this state and it has created a crisis for school districts across the state.”

New York State provides a total of $24.2 billion in state aid about one third of total educational spending statewide. Of those funds $12.6 billion is made available to the 699 School Districts not part of the five big cities. The end is then distributed based on formulas approved by the State Legislature. The distribution formulas have long been subject of much debate and result in challenges from various regions of the state.

“Under the current funding some school districts get more than 70% of the cost of education funded by state aid while others get significantly less. In Nassau County our public schools get just 4% of the total state aid budget, which provides funding for 18% of our educational costs. Nassau School Districts must self-fund more than 80% of the cost of education locally primarily by means of property taxes. For the upcoming school year Nassau School Districts will levy a total of $4.3 billion in taxes the highest tax levy in the state. So while Nassau Schools get just 18 cents for each dollar of school funding the residents of the county are left with some of the highest property taxes in the United States. This is creating economic problems as companies and residents move from Long Island because of the high taxes. 

In walking the district as part of the campaign, it is alarming how many people are telling me they are selling and moving out of the area.  The homeowners in this state are funding far too much of the cost of all levels of government from police and fire services to County and Town government. In Nassau County right now the County is trying to find ways to fund government using various fees and transferring costs to other governments because they know the homeowners have reached the breaking point in taxes. 

Nassau County is not alone, but is perhaps in the worst shape of all counties.  Statewide school districts are making clear they do not get enough state aid and the tax burden on the homeowners is far too high.  Not every home in this state has children enrolled in our schools, but every home is being called on to provide the primary funding for public education.  Property taxes do not take into consideration the true financial condition of the homeowner. Far too many people across this state are dealing with various financial issues that make it difficult for them to meet these tax obligations in part because of the unacceptable level of state aid being provided.

Every child in our state deserves the opportunity of a quality education. A good education is the most important tool to prepare them for a successful life.  All New Yorkers, not just homeowners have the obligation to provide then need funds for public schools.  Right now, under the current system many of the richest New Yorkers do not pay their fair share in funding public education.

I am calling for a change in the way we fund public education, moving away from using property taxes as the primary funding source and providing homeowners across the state with significant tax relief making it possible for Seniors to remain in their home after retirement and making homeownership more affordable statewide.”  The Brooks Plan has several key point that will insure every school district gets the needed funding but at the same time provides some expense controls in educational funding.

  • New York will fund the cost of all special needs students and special education students. The state will approved the educational programs for these students and then provides the funding on a student basis.
  • All state required educational programs and services will be funded by the state taking into consideration regional cost factors and student enrollment.
  • School Districts will have the ability to enhance their educational programs and services beyond state requirements with the cost of those enhancements being funded by local property taxes subject to voter approval.
  • The plan also includes a number of programs, school districts can make use of to further reduce the cost of education and use those savings to enhance their education programs without the need of local property taxes.

“This plan will ensure every school district has the needed funding without the abusive taxes we are seeing in many school districts. It makes the funding of education more equitable statewide because the funding will be based on the true financial ability to pay the taxes. We will be shifting the primary funding form the limited number of homeowners to all New Yorkers adding millions of people to the funding base rather than just the homeowners.

Because the state is monitoring the cost and making use of regional cost factors we will have better financial control. This program means the Homeowners across the state will see tax reduction of 60 to 65% making homeownership more affordable, improving economic conditions all over the state, allowing companies and homeowners to remain and making it possible for our seniors now on fixed incomes who help build our communities to remain in their homes” Brooks said.

  • School Districts will have the ability to enhance their educational programs and services beyond state requirements with the cost of those enhancements being funded by local property taxes subject to voter approval.
  • The plan also includes a number of programs, school districts can make use of to further reduce the cost of education and use those savings to enhance their education programs without the need of local property taxes.

“This plan will ensure every school district has the needed funding without the abusive taxes we are seeing in many school districts. It makes the funding of education more equitable statewide because the funding will be based on the true financial ability to pay the taxes. We will be shifting the primary funding form the limited number of homeowners to all New Yorkers adding millions of people to the funding base rather than just the homeowners. Because the state is monitoring the cost and making use of regional cost factors we will have better financial control. This program means the Homeowners across the state will see tax reduction of 60 to 65% making homeownership more affordable, improving economic conditions all over the state, allowing companies and homeowners to remain and making it possible for our seniors now on fixed incomes who help build our communities to remain in their homes” Brooks said.