Thursday, 03 October 2013 00:00
Smaller, financially strapped school districts that can offer greater educational opportunities by joining together are the best candidates for mergers, according to a new research report by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).
The report found that losses in state aid and the local property tax cap have forced some districts to eliminate teaching and support staff positions, affecting their ability to provide elective courses and, in some cases, core courses as well.
By merging, these districts might be better able to offer a wider variety of educational programs and courses than they would otherwise.
“While we often hear policymakers talk about cost savings as the main impetus for school district mergers, school board members must first and foremost consider the academic implications of a proposed merger,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.
NYSSBA’s new report, “To Merge or Not to Merge,” explores the pros and cons of school district mergers and identifies key factors in determining whether a community will support a merger.
Aside from increased educational opportunities for students, school districts might consider a merger to realize cost savings due to economies of scale, provide greater access to extracurricular activities, or receive additional state aid.
Yet mergers also present drawbacks, such as loss of community identity and longer bus rides.
The report also found that creating a successful school merger depends on several important factors, including:
• Whether districts will benefit more or less equally from the merger, both financially and academically
• Building trust and credibility with voters
• Obtaining buy-in from school staff and students
“School leaders are being forced to look at alternative ways to provide student services with fewer resources,” said Kremer. “Decisions about mergers and consolidations should be made locally. It is the students, parents, taxpayers and employees in the school district who are most affected.”
The report can be found at www.nyssba.org.
—New York State School Boards Association (NYSBBA)
Saturday, 18 October 2014 00:00
Communities value their libraries, and at the Levittown Library, the library staff, in turn, truly appreciates their patrons. Employees at the Levittown Public Library, with a talent for knitting, demonstrate their commitment to the community’s teens by making “amigurumi”—small knitted or crocheted stuffed toys—for use in the reading program.
Friday, 17 October 2014 08:27
Who says you have to travel into Manhattan for a fun-filled evening of delicious food and drink? YES Community Counseling Center hosted its 7th Annual “A Taste of the Town”, featuring many of the South Shore’s finest culinary establishments. All proceeds from the event benefited YES, a non-profit community-based organization providing services to children and families in the community.
Friday, 17 October 2014 08:32
The Island Trees Squirts Rockets U-6 team met with town officials, Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Gary Hudes at the 2014 Island Trees Soccer Club Opening Day Parade and Ceremony held at Stokes Elementary School. Pictured also with the Rockets U-6 team is President Joe Badolato, Event Coordinator Keri Cinelli, Equipment Commissioner Chris Blum, Travel Commissioner Mike Rich, Vice-President Brian Fielding and Rockets U-6 Coach Gina Weyland.
Friday, 17 October 2014 08:31
With six second half goals, the Farmingdale State Rams men’s soccer team picked up a 6-0 conference victory over the Sarah Lawrence Gryphons on Oct. 11, to improve to 5-8-1 overall, 2-2-1 in the Skyline. The visiting Gryphons fell to 2-9, 0-5 in conference play.