By all appearances, the State of New York really has it in for the children of Seaford.
Read yesterday's Newsday (January 18) which discusses at length Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed 2012-13 State Budget. On Page A34 is a table of school aid increases.
Now, before you go look, think about the governor's hype and political rhetoric about increasing school aid by 4 percent for 2012-13, and set your expectations. I also want you to think about Seaford and Wantagh as neighboring, mirror-image, basically homogenous small communities. Seaford and Wantagh, neither big enough to warrant having their own edition of Patch or The Citizen newspaper, both sharing their fire departments, and their school district boundaries overlap here and there.
The biggest difference between Seaford and Wantagh used to be the colors of their high school football jerseys (green and gold versus black and gold). Sometimes in downtown Wantagh, the sign on the Wantagh Inn is changed to read "The Seaford Inn", if a friendly bet goes wrong on a football game.
Okay, now go look at the state school Aid table on Newsday Page A34 which shows how the existing formula will distribute the Governor's vaunted 4 percent "increase" next school year.
Seaford......$136,602 additional aid
Wantagh....$946,235 additional aid
Comparatively, Seaford will be receiving less than 2 percent more, while Wantagh will be receiving more than an 8 percent increase!
Seaford's formula increase amounts to a shabby one quarter of one percent of their budget, while Wantagh will be see a nice boost of more than one full percent of their current budget.
The chart conveniently fails to show the increase as an amout per student. But that is where I come in. The official State Education Department 'Property Tax Report Card' shows the following enrollment comparison for the current school year:
Dividing the proposed state aid increases by the enrollment numbers reveals:
Seaford.......$53 more per student
Wantagh...$275 more per student
Therefore, in terms of raw dollars, Wantagh would receive seven times more money that Seaford, and in terms of dollars per student, Wantagh's increase is five times that proposed for Seaford's children.
This so-called "state aid formula" is cruel, callous, and just stupid, in my opinion.
I think the children of Seaford should get a lawyer and sue the governor for their individual fair shares of the state's tax money. I think the parents of Seaford should be all over State Sen. Charles Fuschillo, R-Merrick, and Assemblyman Dave McDonough,R-North Merrick, to explain why they allow this formula to continue to exist, and obtain their committment to change it, and to replace it with a new aid formula that is not callous, cruel or stupid.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org