State Senator John Flanagan (R- East Northport) has been selected as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Education. Senate Republican Leader, Dean Skelos, announced the selection last week.
The new position is expected to give Flanagan a stronger role in shaping educational goals for the state and a greater ability to bring stronger visibility to the needs of Long Island residents and students. This may prove valuable as many school districts are facing budgets that have less state funding than in years prior including a proposed cap on property taxes at two percent of the rate of inflation.
“The budgets are scary this year, we are looking at less state aid, homes that are being reassessed for property taxes, and people are losing their jobs,” said Kings Park Board of Education Trustee, Steve Weber.
The new role is expected to allow for an expanded and more influential role in state budget negotiations. Flanagan’s goal is to maximize the funding available to help school districts continue their success without placing additional burdens on local property taxpayers and business owners.
“While many will say that this is impossible, it is my belief that our state has an historic opportunity to change how government operates,” said Flanagan.
Flanagan was the ranking Republican member of the Senate Education Committee last year and has a reputation for being vocal when it comes to fair school funding for suburban areas.
Edward L. Ehmann, Superintendent of the Smithtown Central School District says he is pleased with Flanagan’s appointment.
“As a Long Island Superintendent, I am glad to see that the education committee is being chaired by an individual who not only has a strong grasp of education issues statewide, but also an intimate knowledge of the immediate concerns of the local area.
Maureen Rossi, former Kings Park Council of Schools President is also pleased with the choice of Flanagan and optimistic that he will bring change.
“Quite simply the system for funding education in our state is complex, it’s daunting and it’s broken and I am extremely optimistic that under Senator Flanagan’s reign we will see sweeping changes,” said Rossi.