The Riverhead school district will hold a community rally to advocate for its fair share of state education aid on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 12 noon at Riverhead Middle School.

School Superintendent Dr. Aurelia Henriquez urges members of the community to turn out for the rally to “get our voices heard at the state level.”

“The truth is that our district is in dire need of funding to help us address the growing needs of students,” Henriquez said.

The Riverhead Central School District joined forces last spring with four other districts in New York State — Glen Cove City School District, Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District, Ossining Union Free School District and Westbury School District — known as the “Harmed Suburban Five“— to fight for an increase in “foundation aid” — unrestricted state aid to school districts for school operation and maintenance.

School districts across New York get an average of 80% of the maximum potential foundation aid for which they are eligible under complex formulas that take into account the districts’ land wealth, poverty levels and special student needs.

The “Harmed Suburban Five” districts get less than 50% of their maximum potential foundation aid.

According to the Riverhead school district, since the foundation aid formula was established in 2008, Riverhead has experienced a 22.8% increase in student enrollment and a 307.9% increase in the number of English Language Learners. In addition, Riverhead serves an ever-increasing number of students who receive free and reduced lunch, according to the district.

The district has published on its website a sample letter for district residents to send to local state lawmakers and the governor seeking am increase in foundation aid for Riverhead.

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