District Delegation Advocates with Legislators

A nine-member legislative advocacy delegation from the district – including Superintendent Susan Schnebel, Board of Education trustees Catherine M. Romano and Dave Twomey, Islip Middle School Assistant Principal Jim Cameron, teachers Eric Holdsworth and Rahanna Schmalacker, and community members Paul Austin, Matthew Clareen and Kristen Piazzola – attended the Longwood Legislation Breakfast held at Longwood Middle School on Feb. 7.

A total of 29 school districts participated along with three New York State senators, seven assemblymen and a federal congressman. District representatives met with the 11 legislators to share perspectives and discuss challenges with regard to the budget proposal and legislative mandate released in late January by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Issues addressed by the legislators included the repeal of the Gap Elimination Adjustment, education reforms to teacher and principal evaluations, building aid calculations, education tax credits and vouchers, tax levy issues, mandate relief, charter schools, testing mandates, the opt-out movement, Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, and emergency funding to support the influx of unaccompanied minors within local schools.

Recently elected U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin outlined his recent support for ESEA flexibility through the Student Success Act proposed by Rep. John Kline on Minnesota.
Last fall, the Islip legislative advocacy team had encouraged a letter-writing campaign, urging legislators to restore the annual $2.5 million cuts in aid resulting from the GEA. With no information yet forthcoming on 2015-2016 state aid allocations, the team will again encourage community members to communicate with the governor and local legislators such as State Sen. Phil Boyle, State Assemblyman Andrew R. Garbarino and State Assemblyman Phil Ramos. The community is urged to check the district website for updated information.  
The first of four Islip School District budget workshops will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at the high school.