Thursday, May 26, 2011

New York leads in student spending but lags in SAT scores

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.

Percentage Distribution of Total Public Elementary-Secondary School System Revenue 2008–2009

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?"

Read complete article here ...
Published by By OLIVIA WINSLOW at

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Long Island Property taxes most important issue, say LIers

No surprise here ! To stop this ridiculous rise in property taxes we have to educate our fellow LIers and contact your representative that they should demand Speaker Silver respond to the pleas of homeowners across the state and support a property tax cap in New York. It has already passed the senate but is being stalled in the Assembly by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Also this year we are seeing some enormous rise in property taxes in school districts such as
William Floyd 12.47% and Seaford 8.99%. Some school districts such as Middle country is resorting to blackmailing its residents. The deal for districts residents is either approved a 6.68% increase or the district is going to force 21.61% increase in tax levy.

Published by THOMAS MAIER at Newsday

By a wide margin, property taxes are the most important issue facing Long Islanders, according to a Newsday / News 12 Long Island / Siena Research Institute Poll. Property taxes were cited overall by 45 percent of respondents, more than twice the 21 percent who cited "availability of good jobs" as the second most pressing issue for Long Islanders. "Property taxes are really an issue here because it keeps the young people from staying on Long Island and it will prevent the older people from staying, too," Tafuri explained.

Property taxes also are a large part of why the 57 percent of those polled said Long Islanders are headed in the "wrong direction" rather than the "right track" in the poll. A similar margin said New York State was headed in the wrong direction as well.

Property taxes are a particularly raw issue in Nassau County, where 53 percent cited them as the biggest issue, compared to 36 percent in Suffolk. Islandwide, Republicans and people 55 years or older complained about property taxes the most. "The Democrats love to spend money and they have to get it from the taxpayers," said one poll respondent, a retired Republican who lives on Nassau County's South Shore.

School costs - the biggest part of property tax bills - were also on the minds of Long Islanders who cited "the quality of public schools" among their top concerns. "The first thing I would do is eliminate tenure for teachers in public schools to cut costs," said another poll respondent, a 50-year-old Garden City man who is a Republican and who did not want to give his name. Although he was happy that his two children attending local schools got a good education there, he said his family's property tax bill has been overwhelming.

Property taxes hit a chord with all respondents, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, location or party affiliation. In addition to identifying the most important issue, the poll underlined the intensity of Long Islanders' general feelings about property taxes, with 86 percent calling the issue "very important" and 11 percent as "somewhat important." Crime, schools, good jobs and health care also received strong reactions, with traffic congestion and the local environment getting milder reactions.