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District Discusses State Aid

With the quest to craft the Farmingdale Schools’ 2014-2015 spending plan underway, the Board of Education met on Feb. 26 to discuss the financial well-being of the District; a topic that the support—or lack thereof—from New York State will have a very direct impact upon.


Superintendent of Schools John Lorentz discussed how New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year is slated to include additional financial support for school districts; however, Lorentz said the increase in aid is still far short of what Farmingdale needs to ensure its standards of learning are kept intact going forward.


“In our case, we’re due to receive an increase of about $750,000 in state aid,” he said. “What’s critical for everyone to understand about the Governor’s budget is that not only is $750,000 insufficient for the continuance of our programs within the school district, especially in light of the tax cap that we’re operating under, but there are long-term implications that are associated with the Governor’s proposal that could have significant impact should they become law after the state adopts their budget.”


Lorentz stated that the Board of Education would be detailing many of the parameters of the Gov. Cuomo’s proposed 2014-2015 budget, as well as how state aid would be fitting into the Farmingdale District’s own budget creation process, which is slated to begin on March 12.


“I encourage everyone to pay close attention, because we always say that the budget decisions made today will impact future budgets, which are really our instructional programs,” he said. “In this case, our budgets are becoming more and more significant, especially as there are multi-year plans that are part of the state legislation.” 


Trustee John Capobianco also gave a report on a recent trip the Board of Education’s Legislative Action Committee made to Albany on Jan. 28; the purpose of the trip, he said, was to meet with lawmakers regarding state aid and its importance to the students of the Farmingdale School District.


“We met with at least nine different legislators, and we came back with mixed results,” Capobianco said. “Depending on which legislator you spoke to, they either said that we’re going to have lots of money, we’re not going to have any money, or it’s going to be about the same as it was last year. Obviously, we’re not satisfied with those answers, and we are pressing the issue. We have upcoming meetings with local assemblymen to drive home the message that the assembly has to take a serious look at the state budget, because there are a lot of misguided attempts at school budgeting that we need to address.”


Also, Assistant Superintendent of Administration Barbara Horsley discussed a new changed to the District’s Wellness Policy regarding new restrictions placed upon certain food items at the District’s Elementary Schools.


“This new policy prohibits anyone from bringing in homemade foods for the purpose of being distributed to other children at all school events,” she said. “This does not restrict what a parent may provide for their own child’s lunch or snack.”


The primary reasoning for this change the Wellness Policy, according to Horsley, is to provide protection for students who may have food allergies. The next meeting of the Farmingdale Board of Education is scheduled for Wednesday, March 5, at 8 p.m.