Chief School Officers Recognize Elected Officials, Businesses, and Reveal Legislative Priorities
Chief School Officers and Board of Education Presidents from the 31 school districts in the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES supervisory area recognized members of the NYS Legislature from both parties on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at the Southern Adirondack Education Center.
"Ten school districts within the WSWHE BOCES area were faced with new federal rules affecting how certain employers would be impacted by the Affordable Care Act and New York State Law," said WSWHE BOCES District Superintendent James Dexter. "Those ten school districts would have been forced to leave the WSWHE Health Insurance Trust, an experienced rated plan, in order to join a community rated plan. The absence of those ten school districts would have adversely affected the remaining districts in the trust, resulting in an estimated amount of $2,297,114 in Additional Health Insurance Premiums."
WSWHE BOCES education leaders approached members of the New York State Legislature in June 2015 to address this item, and members from both parties worked diligently to draft and pass Bills to postpone the impact of the current law.
"On behalf of the taxpayers in our region, the superintendents and Boards of Education wanted to formally thank the legislators and recognize their leadership in finding a way to implement the federal law without adversely impacting residents," said Mr. Dexter.
Hartford Central School Superintendent Andrew Cook has taken on the role as Chairperson for the Affordable Care Act sub-committee within the larger WSWHE BOCES Advocacy. Following the breakfast meeting, Superintendent Cook, along with seven members of the committee traveled to Albany, NY to meet with Governor Cuomo's office, to impress upon them the adverse financial consequences 28 school districts plus the BOCES would endure should the Bill not be passed by December 31, 2015. In the event the Bill is not passed, the 28 districts plus the BOCES will have to find a community rated plan effective July 1, 2016, with premiums significantly higher.
Accompanying Superintendent Cook was committee members Indian Lake Central School District Superintendent Mark T. Brand, Governmental Analyst with Hinman Straub; T erri Crowley, Minerva Central School District Superintendent Timothy Farrell, Ft. Ann Central School District Superintendent Kevin A. Froats, S uperintendent Salem Central School District S uperintendent Dr. David Glover, Bolton Central School District Superintendent Michael Graney and Johnsburg Central School District Superintdent Michael Markwica.
At the November 12, 2015 event, Chief School officers also recognized three outstanding business partners - The Adirondack Trust Company, GE Global Research, and Irving Tissue - for the positive impact they have had on students.
"These businesses have donated countless hours to mentor students, provide Work-Based Learning experiences, and allow students to tour their facilities and learn about careers," said Mr. Dexter.
Education leaders also reviewed their legislative priorities for 2015-2016. They are calling on legislators to:
Fully Eliminate the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) statewide
Permanently adjust the Building Aid Formula to eliminate the impact of the change in the Assumed Amortization Rate
Adequately fund the Foundation Aid Formula
Decrease the Income Wealth Index (IWI) factor in the Foundation Aid Formula
Increase the weighting for Free and Reduced Price Lunch (FRPL); factor in the Foundation Aid Formula to accommodate increased poverty rates
Adjust the Salary Cap for District Superintendents
Eliminate the phrase "2003-2004 fiscal year" from the statute
Allow for a gradual increase to the new cap (98% of Commissioner's Current Salary)