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Tax Money For Education Should Be Spent More Wisely

There are roughly 2,700 fewer children enrolled in Chautauqua County schools than there were 10 years ago. The cost for both local taxpayers (15.33%) and state taxpayers (21.89%) has increased over that same time period.

According to U.S. Census data released earlier this year, New York schools now spend $23,091 per pupil, with New York spending about 89 percent more than the national per-pupil average. That is what happens when spending increases each and every year as school enrollments decrease≥Yet, other than the occasional stirrings about mergers, such as those emanating again from the Clymer Central School District, rarely does anyone say much about the lunacy of spending more and more money each year to educate fewer and fewer children. It’s time for that lunacy to end.

In January, the state Board of Regents will recommend to Gov. Andrew Cuomo an astronomical increase in state education aid to schools. While some districts truly do need additional money to provide a better education, we would like to see the state Board of Regents and the state Legislature begin talking about changes to education that allow fewer people to educate the fewer students who are walking through the doors of our schools. It is time for distance learning and regional high school programs to be given serious consideration. Perhaps the state Board of Regents should form a Blue Ribbon Commission on school spending tasked with finding some efficiencies in rural areas of the state that find themselves struggling to make ends meet while educating fewer students than they did 10, 20 or 30 years ago.

New York’s history has shown that it will spend more and more of your money on education year after year. Wouldn’t it be nice if your tax money earmarked toward education was spent a little more wisely or even reflected that having fewer students enrolled should mean spending less money?

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