Walworth, New York – After claiming they’re not receiving the same amount of Foundation Aid others are getting, a school district in Wayne County is calling on the State to properly fund their district.
The Gananda Central School District put out a presentation which they say shows their schools are receiving less Foundation Aid funds per-student than other school districts similar in size.
According to The Gananda Central School District, this is not only leading to fewer resources for students’ education but also higher property taxes.
Since 2014, New York began fully funding the Foundation Aid Formula to provide more general funding for districts to pay their staff, invest in educational and extracurricular programs, and more.
But according to Gananda, they still don’t get what the formula promised. “We were promised $8.6 million back in 2010-2011,” Superintendent Shawn Van Scoy said. “We are about $2.5 million short of that number still today.”
That annual amount of lost revenue combines for over $27 million Gananda Schools missed out on over the past decade. Forcing them to lay off teachers or lose staff going elsewhere. Plus, not being able to afford essential programs for students. “We special needs students that go to our neighboring districts to get the programs that they need,” Superintendent Van Scoy continued. “We have 20 students s every day that goes to the Pal-Mac School district to get their engineering classes.”
Gananda receives $7,131 per student in Foundation Aid. Compared to $12,968 Newark Central gets, and $12,334 to Lyons Schools. Gananda argues this inequity forces their property taxes to make up the difference which in 2020 were the fifth highest in all of New York State. Their local state representatives are taking notice. “I think they’re at about $31,000 and Lyons is roughly $21,000,” Assemblyman Brian Manktelow told us. “Some of the comments and talks we’ve had in Albany is it shouldn’t matter what part of the state you’re in. Every student should have the same ability and options to learn things and be treated the same.”
Gananda isn’t asking for the state to fully reimburse what the foundation aid formula promised. But adjust their annual funding to what they were meant to get in 2010. “We’re not asking for the $27 million back, we’re not asking for anything that’s missed at this point,” Superintendent Van Scoy said. “That’s gone in the past. We just want to fix it going forward so we don’t have the high tax rate, adjust our teacher salaries, and put programs back in.”
According to Gananda, they’re not the only district facing unequal funding from the Foundation Aid Formula. It would be almost $3,000 more per student than what they get now if they received the rate promised to them.
Senators Shelley Mayer and Pam Helming also met with Superintendent Van Scoy about this issue. Their full statements are below.
“I understand the concerns raised by the school community and residents of Gananda regarding state funding for education. As Chair of the Senate Education Committee, my unyielding focus has been and continues to be, on the needs of all students throughout the State. While I recognize the current formula has shortfalls, the State is finally after more than a decade moving forward with its prior commitment. Our work on supporting school districts is far from done yet we have also provided additional direct relief to schools with billions of dollars in federal covid funding. These initiatives take partnerships in order to be successful and I look forward to working with school leaders, educators, parents, and community members from across the state as we continue to prioritize funding for public education.” – Sen. Shelley Mayer.
“I have met with Superintendent Van Scoy and his staff to address this issue and have spoken with Senator Shelley Mayer, Chair of the Education Committee as I advocate for the funding Gananda needs. Our schools deserve fair and equitable funding. I also support legislation sponsored by my colleague Senator Jordan to help ensure fairness in funding for our rural schools.” – Sen. Pam Helming