Schools need relief from state mandates

The Buffalo News editorial on the need for mandate relief was right on target. The “doomsday clock” for finances for our area school districts is ticking. As a School Board member in the Cleveland Hill School District, I agree that districts must be realistic and efficient. But most expenses are driven by mandates. We need the state to loosen its grip on schools because the money to pay for its mandates is not there. We need the help of our governor and elected officials. This is beyond the scope of further cuts. Restructuring can be explored to help save programs, but it does not restore funding.

We’ve exhausted our local taxpayers and the business base has eroded. Our funding from the state has been decimated, and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy further impacts the state’s financial condition. Pension and health benefit costs will go even higher, and still Triborough protects salaries and benefits whether or not a community can afford them. Local communities are left holding the bag, but now it is an empty one.

School officials and School Board groups both locally and statewide have again and again sounded the alarm. Our elected officials must address what unfunded and underfunded mandates are doing to our schools and our communities.

Paul Kunkel