Somers, N.Y. – (4/16/11) Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson), along with Rev. Mark Vaillancourt and Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy hosted follow up forum and planning meeting with 200 concerned residents to address a mandate relief item that could lead to the demise of private and parochial schools across the Hudson Valley.
In mid-March, Senator Ball heard personal testimony from concerned constituents regarding the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents position paper, that recommended either state funding of private school, out-of-district transportation, or a reduction of mileage limits from 15 to 5 miles. During the meeting, Senator Ball announced that he would be assembling a Citizen’s Advisory Council on Private and Parochial Schools Busing, chaired by Father Mark Vaillancourt of Kennedy Catholic, and Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy.
Senator Ball’s Citizen’s Advisory Council (CAC) has already hosted a conference call, attended by over 100 people, as well as gathered 1145 signatures against the proposed mandate relief item. The next item on the CAC’s agenda is going up to Albany on April 18th, to lobby in support of their freedom of choice when it comes to education.
“The families that choose to send their children to parochial school are still paying school taxes and this busing is one of the few tangible benefits they receive,” Senator Ball said. “If this proposal becomes a reality, the state of New York will once again be unfairly targeting those parents who are merely attempting to provide their children with expanded opportunities and a great education. The assault on our families, Catholic families in particular, must end and common sense must prevail.”
The CAC will be going to Albany this Wednesdany, April 18th to meet with various legislators and members of the Governor’s Mandate Relief Council to voice their opposition to the proposed mandate relief item. Among those traveling to Albany will be
Somers resident, Rosemary Cerabona, who lives one-tenth of a mile outside of the proposed millage limit, was at the forum to voice her opinion.
“I have been very connected to this issue. This has been a very strong topic from word of mouth. It is amazing that this is how far we have to go to keep the busing for our schools.”
“This is discriminatory to the private and parochial schools. It has a profound effect on my business, which is about 30 percent of my gross income,” said President of the County Coach Bus Service, David Kucera. “I think Greg is going to a fabulous job, I have always supported him and here he is tonight fighting for what is right.”
“I am a big believer in choice of education. I think the catholic schools are very efficient and I am very happy with the results I have seen, Said Maura Gallagher, Katonah resident, that has two children in catholic schools. “I think it is great that Senator Ball is on top of this issue. I really admire that he sticks to his guns. Other politicians have to realize they are spending our money and they should all step up and do the right thing.”
Senator Ball, Councilman Murphy, and Father Vaillancourt are calling on concerned residents to sign the CAC’s onlinepetition, contact members of the Mandate Relief Council, and join them for their lobby day on April 18th.
There will be buses leaving Kennedy Catholic, this Wednesday, April 18th at 8:00 AM for those interested in joining more than 100 members of Senator Ball’s CAC on a lobbying trip to Albany.
If you are interested in attending the lobbying day, for more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Krista Gobins at (845) 200-9716, or firstname.lastname@example.org.