Some New York school leaders say it’s a matter of years — as little as two or four — before they’ll no longer be able to survive financially or fulfill state and federally mandated course requirements.
According to the results of a statewide survey by the state Council of School Superintendents, 41 percent of leaders polled said they expect their districts to be financially insolvent within four years. Nine percent said they’d reach that condition in two.
More than half — 51 percent — of leaders expect to reach educational insolvency, where they won’t be able to afford mandates for instruction and student services, within four years. Eighteen percent said they’ll get there in two years.
Forty-three percent of small-city superintendents describe their districts’ financial condition as “poor” or “very poor.”
“The challenge school district leaders face is not just balancing budgets, but improving educational outcomes and providing students with the learning needed to excel in the real world,” said Robert Reidy, the council’s executive director said in a statement. “But under current state educational policies, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do both. We’re being forced to cut staff and eliminate programs and this has an inevitable impact on learning.”
The survey was conducted in August and September 2012. A total of 249 superintendents submitted complete responses. Incomplete submissions from 47 superintendents were also included in the results. There are roughly 700 districts in the state.
Superintendents serving the “Big Five” — New York, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Syracuse — and the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) were not included in the survey because their systems’ budgets are not subject to voter approval. As a result, those cities do not report some of the financial data that is available for small city, rural and suburban districts.
Read the full report here: