STONY POINT, N.Y. -- The North Rockland PTA Council has collected more than 1,500 signatures on both an online and a paper petition seeking financial help from the state for its desperate district. PTA parent Maureen Ksiez, who initiated the petition, says the district is in deep financial distress and she fears deep cuts to educational programs.
"North Rockland continues to deal with the Mirant power plant tax assessment and closure crisis and we will continue to deal with it for years to come (2036)," she said. "It is crippling debt - total of $224 million, and we pay $11 million annually."
Petitions are being sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, State Senator William Larkin, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, Assemblyman James Skoufis, Senator Chuck Schumer, and Congresswoman Nita Lowey.
"The children of North Rockland desperately need their help and we hope they will listen and react to our concerns," she added.
North Rockland School Superintendent Ileana Eckert said the district fully supports the petition.
"The district has been doing its best to use its reserves," she said. "But we're strapped. We've closed two schools. Laid off 26% of the staff, reduced transportation, healthcare costs. We need help."
Here's what the petition says:
As an elected official representing me, I urge you to:
1. Include North Rockland CSD for significant funding for the Special Legislation of $19 million for those districts with Energy Plant assessment reductions and/or closures.
2. Pass Recurring Legislation to Fund Tax Certiorari Debt - $11,300,000 annually up through 2036 because of Power Plant Loss Revenue/Assessment. Our District is not equitable compared to Nassau and Suffolk School Districts that do not have this financial burden. Their respective Counties/Towns pay for their Tax Certiorari Liability Costs.
3. Restore Foundation Aid to Full Funding Levels as per court order.
4. Reject Education Tax Credit proposals that divert funds from public schools.
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