New York state spent more money per student in its public schools than any other state in the nation in 2009, according to a Census Bureau report released Wednesday
New York averaged $18,126 in per-pupil spending, according to the census data, far higher than the national average of $10,499 per student. A Newsday analysis of census data also showed the spending average among Long Island's 124 school districts was even higher -- $23,972.
Some local educators say the spending averages for both Long Island and the state have resulted in education excellence, but also reflect the higher regional costs for the state and the Island. But others worry rising education costs cannot continue unchecked. One check may come from a tentative 2 percent property tax cap agreement reached by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers Tuesday.
Education Excellence ? Are you sure?
New York Ranks 46th in Mean 2010 SAT Scores by State. In addition to that New York SAT scores have fallen over the last decade 2000-2010 in Reading by 10 and Math by 7. Even in States with 60% Participation Rate or Higher New York is ranked 13th.
"There's too much of a tax burden and we have been fed the myth that more money equals better education and better teaching," said Andrea Vecchio, an activist with the East Islip TaxPAC. "Not true."
One explanation for the higher spending in New York and other nearby states, said Gary Bixhorn, chief operating officer of Eastern Suffolk BOCES, is the higher costs in Northeast states. And Long Island, Bixhorn added, is a high cost region within New York, where costs are 43 percent higher than the lowest cost region.
"When you adjust for those regional costs differences, the per pupil expenditure tends to be close to the state median," Bixhorn said. He added that higher spending has meant better education in New York State and on Long Island.
Nevertheless, John Cameron, chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Council, which has made reforms in education costs a priority, said continued increases cannot be sustained. Cameron also said because of state education aid cuts and the tentative 2 percent property tax cap agreement, he feared educational quality could diminish in poorer Long Island school districts.
"We needed to do something," Cameron said, applauding the tax cap. "Now the tough work begins: how do districts live within the tax cap and reduced state funding and still not reduce the quality of education?"
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Published by By OLIVIA WINSLOW at Newsday.com