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Rural Schools in Peril

Lack of adequate funding threatens future solvency of rural districts in New York

Funding for rural school districts is in crisis. New unfunded mandates, cut academic programs and layoffs have plagued districts in the rural areas of the Capital Region for the last few years – and there are no signs of the crisis slowing.

This hits close to home, as Berne-Knox-Westerlo alone has lost $5.4 million dollars to the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) since the 2010-11 school year. That’s $5.4 million dollars in just four years. The GEA was introduced in 2010 as a way for the state government to close its budget deficit. It did so by spreading the funding shortfall around to all school districts through a GEA reduction to the overall Foundation Aid due to schools.  [Click here to learn more about the GEA]

Continued lack of adequate and equitable funding, the tax levy limit, the Gap Elimination Adjustment and the continued implementation of unfunded mandates will leave rural schools like ours at even more of a financial disadvantage. Some districts may even face the real possibility of becoming financially insolvent if these issues are not addressed.


What can you do?

Come learn about the problem and advocate for change at THREE upcoming local events...

The Schoharie County Superintendents and the Schoharie County School Boards Association invite the public to join in the discussion about the serious financial issues facing our rural public schools at two upcoming events:

Jan. 23 at 6:30 p.m. at Cobleskill-Richmondville Golding Middle School, renowned public school fiscal expert Dr. Rick Timbs, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium, will present “Rural Schools in Peril,” an overview of the economic crisis our local school districts face.

Dr. Timbs will share research illustrating how rural New York state districts continually receive inequitable and insufficient funds in comparison to the rest of the state and what this means for the futures of school districts such as ours.

Thursday, Jan. 23, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m, CRCS Golding Middle School, School Auditorium, 193 Golding Drive, Cobleskill

Feb. 13 a special Legislators Event at Duanesburg High School will serve as a follow-up to the prior event. Come voice your concerns on the economic state of our schools to local legislators Senator Tkaczyk, Assemblyman Santabarbara, and Assemblyman Lopez, who will be on hand to discuss school funding.

Thursday, Feb. 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Duanesburg High School, 133 School Drive, Delanson, NY 12053

Both events are sponsored by the Schoharie County School Boards Association, representing Berne-Knox-Westerlo, Cobleskill-Richmondville, Duanesburg, Middleburgh, Schoharie, and Sharon Springs central school districts.


New York schools STILL in fiscal peril: Our kids can't wait another yearFinally, issues with funding aren't only plaguing rural school districts, but districts all across the Capital Region and even the state.

Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Colonie Central High School The Capital Region BOCES advocacy event “New York schools STILL in fiscal peril: Our kids can’t wait another year” will focus on the need to eliminate the Gap Elimination Adjustment. READ MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT

 Dr. Rick Timbs will also be at this event, joining a panel of administrators, teachers and students to talk about how inadequate school funding has effected the classroom. Please RSVP to let us know if you will attend the event with BKW. You can RSVP by phone at 872-5266 or email at

The snow date for this event, which will be held in the Colonie Central High School auditorium at 1 Raider Blvd. off Sand Creek Road in Colonie, is Feb. 3.


About Rick Timbs: Dr. Timbs is recognized as a state-wide leader in promoting advocacy and citizen action in order to preserve and restore funding to public schools. He is a frequent presenter at workshops and conferences and has written numerous articles on educational development, use of data to improve instruction, educational finance, leadership and governance. As president and CEO of R.G. Timbs Advisory Group, Inc., he is a consultant to various educational finance entities and continues to provide a variety of research studies, development projects, strategic planning initiatives and mentorship roles across the state