Education commission fails to address financial inequalities faced by low-wealth school districts

EAST SYRACUSE – A preliminary report of the New NY Education Reform Commission, released yesterday in Albany, fails to address financial challenges faced by school districts across the state, according to the Syracuse-based Statewide School Finance Consortium (SSFC), which represents more than half of New York State’s public school systems, including districts in Chenango County.

Said Dr. Rick Timbs, executive director of the SSFC, “The emphasis on increased efficiency and effectiveness of student performance has merit, but the pressing fiscal issues that hinder improved student performance initiatives did not receive the comprehensive and timely consideration they require.”

Omissions in the report are a setback for low-wealth, high-need school districts – like those in Chenango County – added Timbs, who said he was disappointed that no mention was made of taking steps to fix what he called Albany’s “highly flawed” and “inequitable” system of delivering state aid to schools.

“If we had all the time in the world, these recommendations would be a great start,” stated Timbs. “Unfortunately, we don’t. These recommendations, though well meaning, don’t move the ball far enough down the field to stop the increased slide of these districts into fiscal and programmatic insolvency.”

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