Incentives for consolidating school districts
Paul Le Page is scheduled to unveil his budget for the last two years of his governorship on Friday.One thing that won’t be in the document, the governor has long said, is state funding to pay for superintendent salaries because the governor believes the state has too many superintendents.Jill Remick, a spokeswoman for the Agency of Education, on Wednesday confirmed that a second round of meetings — intended to help more school districts — are set for Thursday and Friday this week.Districts that move quickly, with votes approved locally by July 1, 2016, to join larger unified school systems, will qualify for the most generous tax breaks under the new law.
The school district, like others in Western New York, was considering closing schools as the number of students dropped and expenses rose.
And yet Erie County’s public schools recorded the steepest percent decline in enrollment between 2007-08 and the 2012-13 school years among the state’s counties and boroughs whose school districts enrolled 100,000 or more students in kindergarten through high school, according to a Buffalo News analysis of state Education Department data.
Enrollment in school districts in Erie County decreased 8.5 percent during that five-year span, falling from 126,925 students to 116,104 students.
The law requires districts to merge into new school systems of at least 900 pupils by 2018.
At that point, the State Board of Education has the authority to restructure districts that don’t merge or that don’t meet educational quality review standards.
Nobody was interested in discussing the possibility.