Saturday, May 16, 2015
This tenth update of Long Island Education: Costs and Outcomes is the joint work product of representatives of the Long Island Education Coalition (LIEC) and the Long Island Association (LIA). These two groups have once again designated representatives to update this report that has proven to be critically important to our region over the past 19 years. The simple, straightforward idea behind this major effort continues to be the same today as it was in 1995: “Let’s agree on the numbers, and then draw our conclusions.” Early on, we agreed to use only verified data from New York State sources and have continued that practice over the years.
The results of this approach have been consistent over the history of the collaboration. From day one, we found that Long Island students outperform students from across New York State, and that regional cost differences disadvantage Long Island when it comes to state aid allocations, and presentation of comparative expense data.
As a result of this work, we have opened the door to having regional cost differences factored into the state aid formulas. Although these differences are now being acknowledged, they are not being fully accounted for. In addition, this work has caused us to take a closer look at the inequities that exist within our region based upon school district wealth. In our sixth update, we documented the existence of a resource and achievement gap between Long Island’s wealthiest and least wealthy school districts. This gap continues to widen. We have much work to do within a region that is struggling under fiscal distress from economic factors with schools that are working with the challenges of the tax levy cap while reform initiatives are driving up the cost of unfunded mandates.
Now, more than ever, it is important that we focus on the facts to craft meaningful strategies to address our challenges. We prepared this latest update to help inform the discussion that will continue as we work together to assure that our region’s most prized asset, our schools, can continue to prepare our children for the future.