My name is Justin Herrling, I am a parent, teacher, taxpayer and president of the Auburn Teachers Association. I am writing this letter to express concern, and frustration with the current New York state school funding formula.
I have been employed in the Auburn school district since 2004 and over those years have seen major reductions in student services, resources, programs and employees, as a direct result of the state's inability to fund public education properly.
As a parent of two Auburn students, I have been overly concerned with growing class sizes, reduced specials rotations and major behaviors that cause distractions and loss of instructional time. All of these things are a result of Auburn not being fully funded under the current formula compared to surrounding school districts, some of which are currently being overfunded on a yearly basis. As a parent I want what is best for my children, and them to be awarded the same opportunities as children in other districts.
As a teacher in the district for over 16 years I have witnessed programs being cut, colleagues being laid off, and opportunities for students being missed because on a yearly basis Auburn struggles to pass a school budget that is a direct reflection of improper funding by the state.
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As a taxpayer I understand the need to raise school taxes to help with the budget, but also can not afford huge increases that would place the burden solely on the backs of home and property owners. We can not expect our local taxpayers to carry the burden of the State's inability to properly fund the formula.
As president of the Auburn Teacher Association, I have worked together collectively with administration to advocate for Auburn in many ways. We have met with our local state representatives, we have traveled to Albany and met with representatives from the governor's office, and we have attended local funding roundtables. Collectively we will continue to do as much as we can to support the teachers and students of the Auburn Enlarged City School District.
My hope is that whoever reads this will join our fight to advocate the needs that Auburn has and help us in any way possible push the State to properly fund us in a fair and equitable way.
Justin Herrling is president the Auburn Teachers Association.