East Aurora Advertiser

Governor’s Proposed Budget Jeopardizes Holland School Funding

New York’s Executive Budget Proposal does not seem to be good news for everyone who relies on state aid.

At a recent Holland school board meeting, Business Official Brittany Carey noted Governor Kathy Hochul’s budget proposal could have a significant impact on Holland Central Schools. The budget proposal includes eliminating “Save Harmless,” which was first implemented in 1976. This was created for districts when not receiving an increase in certain aid categories, including Foundation Aid, could count on receiving the same amount as in the previous year and a guarantee of no decrease.

“Removing this without warning would have a significant impact on our district.” Superintendent Eric Lawton said. “The District is seeing a loss of $780,929 in foundation aid. School districts rely on the tax levy and state aid to support the budget. This is about a 10 percent decrease in foundation aid.”

During the meeting, Carey suggested that if constituents are interested in opposing this part of the budget, they could write a letter to their state representatives to advocate for keeping Save Harmless.

During the meeting, the board reviewed correspondence received from John Zach, a radio journalist on WBEN and a resident of Holland. Zach’s letter detailed that he had read about the Environmental Science students studying the quality of the town’s water in the local newspaper.

In 2020, Zach published a book titled “The Day the Buffalo River Burned” that focused on water pollution, and the carelessness that causes it, in Buffalo and Western New York. Reading about the students studying the water of Holland piqued his interest because of its close relationship to the subject of his book.

“They [the students] are into clean water and they recognize the importance of clean water,”  Zach said. “My book aims to raise awareness about Stanley Spisiak (the US premier environmentalist of his era) and how terrible the Buffalo River was and create a legacy for him.”

Zach donated three copies of his book to the library at Holland Central High School.

The school board will meet again on Monday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. in the high school library on Canada Street.

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