Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie), Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, today announced he has secured additional funding in the State Budget for Columbia County School Districts.
Due to the manner in which the State collects data, some school districts are perceived to be wealthier than they actually are, placing taxpayers in those districts at a disadvantage. Senator Saland pursued High Tax Aid, a formula-driven form of relief, for these districts which appear to have a large discrepancy between their perceived income, due to higher property values, and the community’s ability to pay. Columbia County school districts eligible for High Tax Aid include:
Taconic Hills -- $352,002
Germantown -- $143,068
Chatham -- $144,447
Hudson City --$218,990
Ichabod Crane --$224,558
New Lebanon -- $143,187
Total -- $1,226,252
Additionally, not every school district received the same percentage increase in funding. Senator Saland secured funding to offset the limited amount of operating aid (Foundation Aid) or lack of High Tax Aid received. Columbia County school districts in Senator Saland’s district eligible for this additional funding include:
Taconic Hills -- $100,000
Chatham -- $75,000
*Germantown -- $166,461
*Ichabod Crane-- $331,867
*Hudson -- $468,457
Total -- $1,141,785
* Includes funds allocated in February by a Joint Resolution based on 2007-2008 school data
Senator Saland has also secured a grant of $400,000 for the Hudson City School District Magnet School. Magnet schools often offer an enhanced instructional program designed to engage students in districts with substantial concentrations of minority students.
"There should be a level playing field when it comes to funding our schools. While funding formulas work in most cases, no school should be shortchanged due to an unusual case where the formula just doesn’t work in their favor. It was important to me to make sure none of the schools in my Senate District were disadvantaged, placing an undue burden on local property tax payers," Saland said. "And Magnet programs have demonstrated success in offering educational programs that attract talented students who benefit from a diverse social and cultural exchange," Saland added.
"We are pleased and appreciative of Senator Saland's efforts in securing this substantial grant in aid. These monies will make a significant difference to the children, families and taxpayers of our district. We anticipate using some of this money to support district initiatives such as technology, school security and energy conservation. We're grateful to Senator Saland for his long standing support of our district and public education," said James P. Dexter, Superintendent of the Ichabod Crane Central School District.