Parents of the Enlarged City School District of Middletown, New York
United States of America

The New York State Education Department has mandated that the Enlarged City School District of Middletown initiate and maintain Contract for Excellence programs, based on performance deficiencies from previous school years.

Per that contract, the district must utilize a portion of state aid reimbursements for specific programs and associated staff. The Enlarged City School District of Middletown has shown phenomenal improvements in academic performance and student attendance, while being constrained by a decrease in state funding. By reducing state aid and keeping the mandates, the district must utilize a larger percentage of a smaller pie to fulfill the Contract for Excellence.

Middletown school district residents have faced reduction or elimination of programs that have benefitted students and brought our community together. Academic programs in Home and Careers and Technology are faced with proposed cuts. Teaching assistants, who are early childhood development aids for kindergarten and first-grade students, also are proposed to be cut. This will increase the disparity between children entering school for the first time. The proposed budget will reduce sports programs and other after-school extra-curricular programs. Data reveals students involved in these programs, have higher academic achievement and better school attendance than those who don’t.
The decreasing base of taxpaying residents in our impoverished district cannot afford school tax increases year after year.

Middletown school district students, and others who live in small urban areas with big city challenges, are no less deserving than the kids in more affluent school districts. Middletown has high poverty, with more than 70 percent of its student population on free or reduced lunch, high crime and a growing amount of special needs children. Now the Middletown school district is being asked to jeopardize its financial future to cover the cost today of unfunded mandates.

Fairness mandates that the New York State Education Department helps financially support the programs that it mandates our district maintain. The bottom line is: “These cuts affect ALL the children, both rich and poor.”

We, the undersigned, request that the New York State Education Department increase funding to the Enlarged City School District of Middletown so that it can maintain the Contract for Excellence programs without cutting other equally important programs - or release the mandate of maintaining the entire Contract for Excellence programs.

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