CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo heard the calls of school districts throughout the state last week when he decided to veto a controversial special-education bill, and the Chappaqua Central School District Board of Education is hoping to once again get his attention.
The board is calling for the veto of the bill, which was approved in both the state Senate and Assembly on June 21. Assistant Superintendent John Chow explained the bill would grant tenure status and seniority rights to non-certified employees like custodians and aides during the hiring and firing process.
“It basically says that the capitalist, meritocracy society that we’re in, those rules are thrown out temporarily,” said school board member Jeff Mester.
Board Vice President Alyson Kiesel said she continues to be disappointed with state legislators who promised not to approve additional state mandates without first performing a cost analysis.
“Again, as with the special ed legislation, it’s just appalling in light of the lip service that they’re giving to mandate relief,” she said. “To say that you care about school-aged children, and then to present this kind of legislation, it’s just hypocrisy at the highest level.”
The board unanimously voted to send a letter to Cuomo urging that the bill be vetoed. Board President Victoria Tipp said Cuomo has 10 days after it is delivered to his desk to veto the bill, or it will automatically become a law. The bill was delivered to his desk on Aug. 6.
Cuomo lives in New Castle within tne Chappaqua Central School District lines and board members hope he realizes how much a strain the mandate would put on its budget.
“It galls me,” Kiesel said. “Actions speak louder than words and these actions are gross.”