Schools and local governments are awash with more money at this present time than they have ever been, and that’s primarily because of the huge amounts of cash that were given to them by the federal government as a result of the pandemic relief programs.
Yet, on average, only about 10% of the funding that came from COVID relief was actually spent on pandemic-related matters. The rest was placed in slush funds that were used for weight rooms, athletic fields, window and roof replacements, and many other such items.
The mindset of most districts is “use it or lose it.” Only William Floyd’s school board did the right thing by saying: Let’s give our taxpayers a break.
And what a break it was: $1,000 per household. That’s no token giveback. That’s significant money to the working and middle-class families in that district.
So the question is: If William Floyd could do it, why can’t other districts do it as well?
School districts on Long Island have become money-eating behemoths. They are faceless bureaucracies that take every dollar they can to add to their base so that next year’s increase will be even bigger. The more cash floating within the system, the larger the bureaucracy can grow, and the sweeter the wages and benefits.
We hear the spending will be for the children, but the sad truth is that more money into our schools has practically zero correlation to improved test scores or student performance.
State aid to education has tripled over the last few decades, and yet our state’s student test scores rank in the middle of the pack of the 50 states.
Despite all the money in reserve in most schools, only a handful froze or lowered their taxes. Schools were still increasing their taxes by 4% and claiming they were within the 2% cap, since so many expenditures are exempt from cap calculations.
What’s most impressive about William Floyd’s actions is that its massive tax cut came after a tax cut from the previous year.
If we want to keep our young people here on Long Island, we need more schools and governments to follow the brave lead of the William Floyd school board.
Thanks for proving it can be done.