Assemblywoman Walsh Visited Galway CSD

Assemblywoman Walsh Visited Galway CSD
Posted on 01/27/2023

Many thanks to Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh for visiting Galway Central School District. Her visit came just a week after superintendents and Board of Education presidents in the 31 school districts that comprise the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) BOCES supervisory area met with elected officials for the 2023 Legislative Breakfast. 

The WSWHE BOCES Chief School Officers (CSO) Advocacy Committee, of which Galway Central School District Superintendent Brita Donovan is a member, outlined the priorities school districts would like elected officials to address during the current legislative session. These priorities include:

1. School aid in the 2023-24 State Budget

•  A due minimum increase for all districts, regardless of Foundation Aid phase-in level  

•  A “save-harmless” provision to ensure a stable funding baseline for all districts

•  Fully fund expense-based aids

•  Support an initial evaluation of the current cost to educate a successful student 

2. Increased State support for Career and Technical Education 

CTE programs provide students with essential skills and prepare them for college and careers. The existing BOCES aid formula for CTE programs operated by BOCES only allows districts to receive aid on the first $30,000 of a BOCES instructor’s salary. The average salary of a CTE teacher is now at least $65,000. To ensure that students have access to the CTE pathway, the CSOs are requesting an increase in the amount of CTE teacher salary that is aidable. 

3. Support for universal free meals for students

For the last two years, schools have been able to offer free breakfast and lunch for students and received reimbursement at the free-lunch rate for all meals served. This practice, adopted as part of the federal government’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighted a pre-pandemic reality, that students learn more effectively when they are not hungry. In addition, more students who need school meals will take advantage of them when their peers are also accessing them. Rather than returning to the pre-COVID-19 practice of having some families pay in full or in part for school meals, the CSOs are requesting maintaining the availability of universal meals at no cost to families. 

4. Support in overcoming workforce development challenges

Shortages in teachers, bus drivers, custodians, and other staff members are making it increasingly difficult to fully and properly staff schools. The CSOs are requesting that policymakers consider increasing flexibilities in teacher certification requirements and employment of retirees, as well as Tier 6 reform. 

Superintendents also asked legislators to continue to provide support for ongoing issues facing school districts including:

•  Small group health insurance

•  Small capital projects

•  Zero-emission school buses

“I want to thank Assemblywoman Walsh and our elected representatives for their continued advocacy and hard work on behalf of Galway Central School District,” said Superintendent Donovan. “We are committed to working side-by-side with our representatives to ensure that every student in our district and region has the best educational experience possible."

Assemblywoman Walsh, District Office Manager Stacie Agostino, Superintendent Donovan

Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, District Office Manager Stacie Agostino, and Galway Central School District Superintendent Brita Donovan, Ed.D. discuss ongoing issues facing school districts. 

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