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Rural Schools In New York Worry About Future Funding

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New York State Center for Rural Schools
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NYS PTA Executive Director Kyle Belokopitsky, second from left, at a Center for Rural Schools panel in Cooperstown, N.Y., with NYS Council of School Superintendents Deputy Director Bob Lowry and political analyst Bruce Gyory, and Karen DeWitt moderating.

It’s summer vacation for schoolchildren, but leaders of New York’s rural schools are worrying about the new school year, and say they are squeezed by a tax cap and other factors.

The legislature approved record funding for schools this year, but representatives of rural school districts, many with impoverished families and students, worry that if the economy turns, the funding will dry up. They say they are already strapped with a tax cap that this year amounts to a near zero percent increase, while costs are rising. Kyle Belokopitsky, with the New York State PTA, who spoke on a panel, says while New York has some of the wealthiest areas and school districts in the nation, it also has some of the poorest.

“Poverty is real,” she said.

The rural school leaders say they want lawmakers to reform the decade-old school funding formula to make it more equitable to help school districts in need.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.