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Superintendents survey: Insolvency on horizon for 9% of schools
Nine percent of school districts statewide face financial insolvency in the next two years, according to a survey of school superintendents released Tuesday.
The New York State Council of School Superintendents said more of their members than ever before are warning that their districts are becoming unable to fund state and federal mandates.
Five percent of districts are already unable to afford what's required under education laws and regulations, and 18 percent said that's where they will be in two years, according to the report.
School districts are grappling with a new reality for funding: school tax revenue is capped, as is the growth in state school aid, and that's after state school aid was cut dramatically in 2009-10. District leaders also say they are forced to spend more on state reform programs, such as teacher evaluations and the Common Core curriculum.
“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. 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," said Robert Reidy, the council’s executive director.
School superintendents said that the problems are caused by items including surging pension contributions, a result of amortization of the 2008 Wall Street crash and the siphoning of rainy-day funds in the past few years to keep taxes low. Many also reported that they're in trouble even though salary concessions have been made: 35 percent of the superintendents reported making a cost-saving agreement with their teachers union.