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State of New York vs. the Children of Seaford

What kind of cruel, callous, stupid State "AID" Formula results in Wantagh's children receiving SEVEN TIMES more money than the children of Seaford?

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:

Seaford.....2,568 students

Wantage...3,446 students

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.

References/Sources: 

http://longisland.newsday.com/templates/simpleDB/?pid=394

http://www.p12.nysed.gov/mgtserv/propertytax/

The author can be contacted at chriswendt117@gmail.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Chris Wendt January 25, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Musing about this, our (Wantagh & Seaford's State) Senator Fuschillo giving Seaford a proverbial 'gold star' and some action as well as hope for more money...but no such 'gold star' for Wanagh? Well, it doesn't fix the stupid formula,but it may be an easy one-off fix for Seaford's immediate predicament, right? And Wantagh? Well, the 'stupid' formula already did give Wantagh "more" aid from the get-go. What will be Senator Fuschillo's perspective if Wantagh hands back to the State $650,000 of their additional state aid, because they don't want to invest in Full-day Kindergarten? Seaford alreaedy made that investment, and stuck to it, which maybe part of what earned them their 'gold star' from our Senator. I mean, if Wantagh really does not want that $650,000 for Full-day Kindergarten, then maybe they should call up Sarah Holly and ask her to tell Senator Fuschillo to direct it to Seaford instead.
Lorraine DeVita February 08, 2012 at 12:39 PM
It is now February, having read this thread when it originated i refrained from commenting to see what if anything was being done on a community level to address this issue. I have sat back and waited patientently for someone other then a WANTAGHITE (Chris W) to raise the hue and cry on the LOCAL SEAFORD level in Albany While a few commented here and called Fuschillos office, the town is not ABUZZ with this there is no OUTRAGE, no organized push for Seaford, even if 100 brave souls called or wrote our local representatives, i find it highly ironic that we put more effort into raising monies for SPORTS then we do raising AWARENESS that we are getting the short end of the stick. Last year I took Mr. Brooks to task for starting a petition AT THE WRONG TIME for increased state aid. and falsley claiming we could at that time get the additonal funds we needed. Everyone one of those individuals who supported his effort although ill timed could have picked up the cause when the time was right. Seaford has no organized petitions no volumes of letter writing, no School Board incensed statements,No bus trips to ALBANY, however we DO have Conboy saying how pleased and surprised he was that we received more aid for the year then we did last year. The board gets testy with local residents speaking up YET they wont and dont get TESTY with Albany for shortchanging seaford.. someone explain this to me please.
Wayne Smith February 08, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Lorriane - For whatever it's worth (and probably it's not worth much) I think part of the problem is that people just don't pay a lot of attention to local school board politics or local politics in general, until either budget season (in the case of schools) or election season (in the case of everything else.) So as a result, community response tends to be muted even in situations when it ought to be loud and clear. People aren't paying attention. I'm sure there are people who may see this differently so maybe there's a different explanation but that's the best one I have. The problem I worry about, frankly, is that it is at the moment when you're not paying attention that you're actually the most susceptible to having your pocket picked.
Lorraine DeVita February 08, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Wayne, I appreciate your viewpoit and mostly concur, however not having been to a SB meeting due to the fact I am in MOTHER OF THE BRIDE MODE- I am still aware and concerned that our BOARD and administration are so overwhelmed with the day to day that they are not seeing the forest for the trees. Shouldnt someone from the District Ie the Superintendent for Business be tasked with insuring that Seaford residents ARE aware? If he can attend PTA meetings to raise support for a budget should he NOt also make the time to inform the public at large via PTA's to gather THEIR support and or even a Board meeting. While i cant believe i am suggesting our current Businness Sup actually SPEAK to the public i do think SOMEONE from the district should raise the hue and cry. I have lived here 37 years in that time when my kids were in elementary school the Board then under i beleive Bill ERB hired buses and SEAFORD was bused to ALBANY enmass! Why arent we doing that now. and if it is the COST of the buses the residents could pay for a seat. We are like the dog that repeatedly gets kicked and all we do is moan, whimper and curl up. No wonder we get less then others we dont complain ..
Chris Wendt February 10, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Congratulations, prospectively on you daughter's upcoming wedding. Don't fret over this stuff at this time. It will all still be here after the Big Day is behind you. Nothing will have changed!

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