District News

A Tale of Two Schools: A Look behind NYS Funding Inequity


Like many rural school districts in New York, Canajoharie Central School is facing a fiscal crisis. The downturn of the national economy, coupled with a reduction in state and federal funding and the tax levy limit, has challenged public schools to continue to provide or improve a high-quality education to all students with significantly fewer resources. As a result, districts are making devastating cuts to educational programs as they adjust to rising costs that are outpacing revenue.

A large part of that revenue comes in the form of aid from the state. Leaders from many districts around the region agree that New York State’s foundation aid formula for funding our schools is broken and needs to be fixed. School aid distribution does not support every student in a way that shows every student matters.

If you compare Canajoharie Central School District to a school district of similar size (think approximately 1,000) such as the Sag Harbor District – located about 100 miles east of New York City – the opportunities offered to students are very different.

For starters, Sag Harbor spends $32,781 per student opposed to the $18,560 Canajoharie spends. Sag Harbor also offers the following programs and opportunities:

  • 12 AP courses, including AP studio art, print making, sculpture and music theory

  • An international Baccalaureate diploma program

  • SAT prep

  • K-5 conversational Spanish

  • Artist in residence in photography and sculpture

  • Elementary eco walk and greenhouse

  • Parenting center with workshops and affordable family outings

  • A research in science program

  • Elementary morning programs daily

Since Canajoharie does not have the capacity to offer the same level of opportunities, we must still send a message that our students matter. That means advocating that our district has the same capacity to have the same offerings.