Parents concerned over devastating potential reduction in transportation mileage for catholic and private schools
Somers, N.Y.– 3/16/2012— Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson), along with Rev. Mark Vaillancourt hosted a forum for over 400 concerned residents at Kennedy Catholic high school about a potential reduction in transportation mileage.
The Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents, in a December 2011 position paper, recommended either state funding of private school, out-of-district transportation, or a reduction of mileage limits from 15 to 5 miles. Other considerations include a freeze and review of all current mandates to identify proper funding sources, as well as a consolidation of services.
Amongst the crowd, were parents and concerned alumni from various Catholic and parochial schools across the Hudson Valley.
“This is something that is extremely important to my family. I went to Catholic school and I have two young daughters that I want to send to Kennedy Catholic High School,” said Carmel resident, Leo Cunningham. “I really feel that Greg is a person who is able to mount a vigorous defense to what I feel is an offensive measure taken against catholic education. I think we can generate grassroots support to make sure that this doesn’t continue from this point forward.”
“If we are looking at improving the educational system in New York State we need to focus on where the state is able to provide outstanding, superior education, that’s where the catholic and private schools have been able to deliver. New York ranks the 38 out of 50 states in the county for graduation rate. If we want to improve that we have to give more kids the availability to go to private and catholic schools,” said Paul Goebelbecker, Beekman resident. “I love what Senator Ball is doing, taking an issue strait on and finding a way to get a solution.”
After hearing personal testimony from the crowd, Senator Ball announced that he will be assembling an advisory council to address the mandate relief item, that could lead to the demise of catholic and parochial schools across the Hudson Valley.
“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.”
Yorktown Councilman Terrance Murphy, who will be partnering with Rev. Mark Vaillancourt to co-chair the advisory council stated, “This is a direct attack on catholic school districts that are being put under this duress. With the recent closure of many catholic schools I would love to make sure that the mileage gets increased to 25, 30 or even 35 miles. We have people here that have chose to come to catholic school and they pay their taxes, this is what they are allowed and now it is literally being taken away from them. We will be fighting with Senator Ball and Father Vaillancourt to make sure that this legislation never sees the day of light.”
Senator Ball will be hosting a conference call, open to all constituents concerned with this issue on Wednesday, March 21st at 6pm. The call in number is: (559) 726-1200. The access code is 127034.
For more information, or to speak with Senator Ball please contact Joe Bachmeier at (845) 200-9716.