Why Local Advocacy?


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Why Local Advocacy?

  • Why Local Advocacy?

  • Sounding board for districts with similar interests.

  • Enhances commitment.

  • Does not conflict with state or regional school board associations.

  • Orients members to political landscape.

  • Provides insight into other local districts.



Key Goals Driving R.E.A.D. Advocacy

  • Key Goals Driving R.E.A.D. Advocacy

  • Fair and sufficient funding for all districts

  • Relief from state and federal mandates

  • More effective local school board function and control

  • Relief from standardized tests

  • Specific Focus (Past 3 Years)



R.E.A.D. created a template that itemizes and presents information on estimating the cost of unfunded mandates.

  • R.E.A.D. created a template that itemizes and presents information on estimating the cost of unfunded mandates.

  • Over 90 mandates are included, segmented into categories:



State, Federal and SED mandates are included.

  • State, Federal and SED mandates are included.

    • Does not include mandates which R.E.A.D. feels are necessary district obligations.
    • Does not include costs associated with Benefits (retirement system, health, etc.), Wick’s Law (over the life of the loan), Triborough and other major benefit, negotiation or construction costs.
  • The compilation is an objective view of mandate costs.

    • Each mandate has cost consequences whether or not they are beneficial.
    • The list is continuously updated and revised to be a more accurate representation of mandate obligations.
      • The most recent revision is an update developed in December 2009.


Be informed:

  • Be informed:

    • We need to understand where and how funding is spent.
  • Responsible leadership:

    • We represent taxpayers. These mandates are paid for by local property taxes.
  • Accountability and transparency:

    • School districts must show how they spend money.


Each district compiles their own data.

  • Each district compiles their own data.

    • NYSBBA and Westchester Putnam School Board Association (WPSBA) are helping to coordinate the effort.
  • Definitions for mandate have been developed so that districts are consistent in identifying costs associated with mandates.

    • Methods for estimating personnel hours and other costs, ST3 locations, etc. are provided to make cost calculations easier.
    • Templates for estimating testing costs and Wick’s law costs are provided.


Categories, descriptions, and account codes

  • Categories, descriptions, and account codes

  • are provided.

  • School districts provide actual amounts.

  • Aid is subtracted from total costs.



In FY ‘08-09, the total cost for these unfunded mandates for seven districts was $94.4 million, or an average of 20% of the entire school budget.

  • In FY ‘08-09, the total cost for these unfunded mandates for seven districts was $94.4 million, or an average of 20% of the entire school budget.



In FY ‘07-’08, the total cost for nine Westchester and Putnam Districts was $222.2 million dollars or an average of 16.3% of the entire school budget.

  • In FY ‘07-’08, the total cost for nine Westchester and Putnam Districts was $222.2 million dollars or an average of 16.3% of the entire school budget.







State Costs for Prekindergarten, Primary,

  • State Costs for Prekindergarten, Primary,

  • Secondary and Continuing Education



The numbers add up quickly for eight school districts...

  • The numbers add up quickly for eight school districts...

  • Over $587,881 in testing costs.

  • Over $151,460 in internal audit costs.

  • Over $541,093 in data warehousing costs.

  • Over $287,338 in special education legal costs.

  • Over $66,185 in Special Education (STAC) reporting.

  • Over $118,000 in clerical costs associated with professional development & monitoring highly qualified teacher requirements.

  • Over $209,779 in inspections, monitoring, and compliance (OSHA, DEC, elevators, fire safety, extinguishers).





Financial evidence of the burden of legislative actions and impact on schools and the tax payer.

  • Financial evidence of the burden of legislative actions and impact on schools and the tax payer.

  • Compelling financial argument to legislators and for legislators to use with others.

  • Explanation provided to taxpayer.

  • Going Forward –

    • Argument for involving superintendents and trustees in review of legislation so that they can identify hidden costs.
    • Argument for financial calculation of the cost of bills before they become law.
    • Argument in opposition to a highly restrictive tax cap.


Unfunded mandate reduction act, following the lines of the federal paperwork reduction act.

  • Unfunded mandate reduction act, following the lines of the federal paperwork reduction act.

    • Requires a cost estimate for each new mandate from the legislature or the education department. These costs would be calculated for the different types of local districts and accumulated for a statewide total mandate cost.
  • Reduce school districts printing costs bill

    • Permits school districts to circulate and publish documents electronically, using district or BOCES websites. Paper copies of documents would be prepared and mailed only on request, on an ‘opt-in’ basis.
    • NYSED would be required to accept the STACS special education reports in electronic form. 
  • Legislation to reduce the cost of the new controller’s audits, which have cost taxpayers more to conduct than they have saved.

    • Reduce the frequency to every two years
    • Streamline the requirements on districts who have had clean records for two cycles, to a half-cost audit.
  • Support for the bill allowing amortization of TRS payments (Member Abbate’s Bill Number A06309 - Same as State Senate Number S 4067).





How to Start an Local Advocacy Group

  • How to Start an Local Advocacy Group

  • Consider…

    • Location
    • Common issues
    • Shared legislators
    • Commitment (monthly meetings, website, goals)


How to calculate your unfunded mandate costs and participate in the larger initiative.

  • How to calculate your unfunded mandate costs and participate in the larger initiative.

  • Email Karenzevin@croton-harmonschools.org for copy of unfunded mandate, testing, and Wick’s law template.

  • OR



  • QUESTIONS










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