ALBANY, N.Y. Feb. 27, 2019 — New York State United Teachers members, and students from BOCES programs across the state, assembled in Albany today to meet with legislators about the myriad needs of the diverse BOCES student population.
As previously highlighted in legislative testimony, NYSUT is seeking a $2.2 billion increase in education aid for schools statewide, including $409.7 million in expense-based aid, which covers aid for BOCES. Such aid encourages districts to continue using BOCES programs, providing students with special services and opportunities to learn valuable career skills not otherwise taught in classrooms.
“BOCES is an important part of setting up our students for success in a diverse range of career fields,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “The message to decision makers is clear: The state aid proposal on the table for BOCES and all of our schools is just not enough. We must provide more support for these critical programs.”
BOCES programs are in need of other major state investments and actions as well. NYSUT is advocating for a change in the current aid formula to allow the state to cover more than the first $30,000 of the salary for BOCES Career and Technical Education (CTE) instructors and for expansion of access to CTE programs to the Big 5 School Districts. NYSUT is also seeking a change in law that would allow BOCES to receive the same level of financial support for school safety that school districts receive.
BOCES programs are acutely impacted by the state property tax cap as well. NYSUT believes that exempting BOCES capital expenditures from the tax cap is the best policy. In lieu of an exemption, NYSUT is seeking the creation of a designated statewide BOCES capital program to address the critical building maintenance and upgrades that have become backlogged.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.