03.05.15

SCHUMER: FED FUNDS ARE CRUCIAL TO KEEPING INTACT QUALITY RESOURCES & EDUCATIONAL SERVICES FOR STUDENTS AT CASH-STRAPPED LAKE SHORE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT – CALLS ON FEDS TO APPROVE FED AID FOR SCHOOL DISTRICT

Lake Shore CSD Encompasses Large Portion of the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation, Which Means Parts of the District are Exempt from School Tax Levies – Schumer Says Feds Have a Way to Make Up for this Gap, Through the “Federal Impact Aid” Program

Lake Shore CSD Encompasses Large Portion of the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation, Which Means Parts of the District are Exempt from School Tax Levies – Schumer Says Feds Have a Way to Make Up for this Gap, Through the “Federal Impact Aid” Program


In Last 5 Years, Lake Shore Central School District in Erie County Has Lost Over $20 Million in Funding; Has Been Forced To Close Elementary Schools & Cut Much-Needed Services – Fed Funding Crucial to Provide Much-Needed Resources and Ensure Quality Education for Lake Shore Students

 

Schumer: Restoring Lake Shore Funding Through Fed Impact Aid Program Would Give Access to More Resources and Better Educational Opportunities for Lake Shore Students

 

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the U.S. Department of Education to provide the Evans-Brant (Lake Shore) Central School District with the federal funds it needs to keep vital resources at the school district and avoid cutting further programs that students need. Schumer said the cash-strapped school district currently has 2,500 students attending the district from grades pre-K to 12, more than 200 of which reside on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation. Schumer explained that while the students from the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation help ensure strong enrollment figures for the district, there is also a substantial portion properties within the Lake Shore School’s district lines that are exempt from tax levies. Schumer said that school districts like Lake Shore face the unique challenge of providing a quality education to children living on federally owned land, such as military bases and Indian reservations, while often operating with less local revenue than is available to other school districts because federal property is exempt from local property taxes. Schumer said there is a federal program designed to provide for this funding gap called the federal Impact Aid Program, which could help the district make up for a portion of the $20 million it has lost over the past five years. Schumer is urging the Secretary of Education to approve this funding for the Lake Shore School District so that it is not forced to cut any further services or close schools.

 

“A quality education is an essential foundation on which our children can build successful and fulfilling lives, and it is wrong to deny the necessary resources to students attending Lake Shore Schools that opportunity simply because the district encompasses tax-exempt land from the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation. The students from this federally-owned land add to enrollment numbers for the district, and contribute to the district’s viability, and deserve the same opportunities as other students, but the lost revenue Lake Shore has faced over the years has resulted in the district having to cut programs and close elementary schools. These cuts have crippled the district’s ability to provide the best quality education, but there is hope and there are federal funds available to help fill in the funding gaps through the Department of Education,” said Schumer. “That is why I am calling on Secretary Duncan to approve these federal Impact Aid funds for Lake Shore so that they aren’t forced to cut any further programs and personnel. Having to do so would be a disservice to students throughout the district, so I will fight tooth and nail to make sure the children of Lake Shore get the educational resources they need and deserve.”

 

“The Lake Shore School District has been particularly hard hit in recent years by continued funding cuts,” said Dan Pacos, Assistint Superintendent for Lake Shore Central School District. “Senator Schumer has been a tireless advocate for students in Western New York. This funding would go a long way to ensuring we can continue to provide the best programs and educational opportunities for our students, and we appreciate Senator Schumer’s support and assistance in this endeavor.”

 

The absence of funding normally raised through property taxes has had a crippling effect on the programs, courses, and other resources that are offered by the district. This financial stress has forced the district to close elementary schools and cut much-needed services. As a result, Schumer is pushing the Department of Education to help the school district make up for the lost revenue through its federal Impact Aid Program. The Impact Aid Program is designed to directly compensate local school districts for revenue lost due to the incorporation of this federally owned, and therefore tax-exempt, property in local school districts.

 

Schumer said the financial difficulties the district is facing have left all students with fewer resources and much-needed programs. This reduction in funding has forced the district to close elementary schools, lay off administrative, instructional, and support staff, as well as reduce the number of bus runs, and decrease the number of instructional programs for children. Schumer said these lost funds and resulting cuts have made it increasingly difficult for Lake Shore Central to provide the children of the district with a quality education, further underlining the need for federal Impact Aid. In addition to the loss of revenue from the tax-exempt property on the reservation, New York State has significantly reduced funding to many of its public schools through the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) program. Lake Shore alone has lost out on more than $20 million since the GEA was implemented five years ago. This financial stress has forced the district to cut much-needed services.

 

With federal funding, the Lake Shore Central School District would be able to continue delivering quality education and restore educational programs for students in the District. Schumer said such funding would provide these much-needed resources for the Lake Shore District, and is essential to ensuring that students succeed.

 

Established in 1950, the Impact Aid Program is a major general aid source for over 1,300 school districts nationwide, or almost 10 percent of all districts. For some school districts, Impact Aid supplies as much as 75 percent of the local education operating budget.

 

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to the Department of Education appears below:

 

Dear Secretary Duncan:

 

I am pleased to write in support of the Evans-Brant (Lake Shore) Central School District’s application for funding under Section 8003 of the federal Impact Aid Program.  Such funding will help provide vital resources to the school district, which encompasses a large portion of the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation.   

 

Nearly 2,500 students attend the Lake Shore Central School district from grades Pre-K through 12, and more than 200 students reside on the Cattaraugus Reservation.  The presence of the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation ensures strong enrollment figures for the school district, but also means that a substantial portion of the property that Lake Shore School District encompasses is exempt from school tax levies.  The absence of such funding could have a crippling effect on the programs, courses, and other resources that are offered by the district.  In addition to the loss of revenue from the real property on the reservation, New York State has significantly reduced funding to many of its public schools through the Gap Elimination Adjustment program.  Lake Shore alone has lost out on more than $20 million since the GEA was implemented five years ago.  This financial stress has forced the district to close elementary schools and cut much-needed services.           

           

With funding, the Lake Shore Central School District will continue to deliver quality education for students in the District.  Such funding will provide much-needed resources for the Lake Shore District, and is essential to ensure that our students can continue to succeed.  I applaud the Lake Shore Central School District for its foresight and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.

 

Thank you for your consideration. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

 

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