Yesterday, my opponent responded to the release of my education proposal not by offering his own approach, which to date he has not done, but instead, by criticizing my plan as not providing specifics, inaccurately attacking my record as a school board member (full day Kindergarten has not been eliminated), and presenting a distorted portrayal of my plan. While I am glad to see that my opponent is troubled about the fiscal crisis affecting Long Island school districts, it appears that this interest is motivated by political opportunism, not genuine concern. If my opponent was truly worried about the direction of the South
Huntington School District, he would not have failed to vote in our school
board elections since moving into the District.
My opponent’s critique of my plan as lacking in substance with respect to the
inequity in the distribution of state aid funding is misguided. While the funding formulas used to calculate state aid are complex, the solution is not:
Long Island should get its fair share of state aid. While Long Island currently educates 17 percent of the State’s students, the region receives only 12 percent of state aid. We need to elect a representative who will fight for our rightful share of state aid and not be a rubber stamp for the Democratic majority. The funding
disparity is long standing, and my opponent’s party, which has controlled the
State Assembly for the past thirty years, has failed to satisfactorily address
My proposal for mandate relief is also quite detailed, listing specific regulations that school boards are seeking relief from. As is my criticism of the fact that mandate relief should have accompanied the passage of the tax levy cap, not followed after it. While the tax cap was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on June 24, 2011, school districts still await the meaningful mandate relief that was promised.
Finally, while my opponent’s rhetoric regarding my pay-to-play proposal may constitute a good sound bite, it is divorced from the reality faced by school boards. I am not suggesting that Boards of Education should ask parents to pay for sports and extra-curricular activities. Rather, I am merely proposing that school boards should be given the flexibility to discuss this option with their
residents if it becomes financially impossible to fund such programs.
While I welcome a spirited debate about this issue with my opponent once he releases his proposal, such a discussion should be grounded in facts, rather than