SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – The Elemetary Parent-Teacher Association of the Tarrytowns wants to get parents writing to their elected officials.
The group has joined in the Lower Westchester Education Consortium's advocacy efforts on four statewide education issues.
“Our schools have always thrived because of strong parental involvement, which supports our mission of creating a vibrant and caring learning community,” the EPTA wrote in a note to parents. “Our children have benefited not just from academic classes taught by exceptional teachers and administrators, but from a strong commitment to the arts, sports, world languages, enrichments and after-school programs. Recently, however, events have conspired to endanger our school district – as well as school districts all across New York State.”
The letter-writing campaign focuses on four issues: the state-mandated cap on the property tax levy, new teacher evaluations, numerous mandates and the loss of local control.
EPTA officials say state-mandated costs and the tax cap are compelling school districts to make drastic cuts. They're proposing that the tax cap only cover a district's expenses, not state mandates such as pensions and health insurance. They're also asking state officials to stop imposing new unfunded mandates, review current mandates and provide relief.
“This has created an impossible financial situation for our schools and placed the future of our education system in jeopardy,” the EPTA said.
The campaign also highlights concerns with new teacher evaluations when it comes to costs and effects of increased testing in classrooms. Officials also plan to advocate for more local control on learning rather than standardized test preparation for state evaluations.
The EPTA has posted several letters for parents to use in the letter-writing campaign on their website, as well as contact information for elected officials.