Saland Announces Additional Funding For Dutchess County School Districts

Stephen M. Saland

April 22, 2008

Senator Steve Saland (R,I,C Poughkeepsie), Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, today announced that he has secured additional funding in the State Budget for Dutchess 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 have a discrepancy between their perceived wealth, due to higher property values, and the community’s ability to pay. Dutchess County school districts in Senator Saland’s district eligible for High Tax Aid include:

Hyde Park: $95,382

Arlington: $222,138

Spackenkill: $341,382

Red Hook: $157,564

Rhinebeck: $100,000

Millbrook: $83,975

Total $1,000,441

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. Dutchess County school districts in Senator Saland’s district eligible for this additional funding include:

Red Hook $110,000

Rhinebeck $35,000

Wappingers $100,000

Beacon $100,000

Total $345,000

Senator Saland has also secured a grant of $200,000 for the Poughkeepsie City School District Magnet Schools program. 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 are crafted to reflect a multitude of factors incorporating the needs of a district, the formula is imperfect and, as such, 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.

"In today’s economy, any money to reduce taxes is a welcome relief," said Richard Powell, Superintendent of the Wappingers Central School District.

"We are grateful for his work to restore funding for Dutchess County, and Red Hook in particular. It is very difficult for school districts to maintain and grow quality programs without a revenue stream from the State that keeps pace. Senator Saland’s work helps to ease the pain of local taxpayers," said Paul Finch, Superintendent of the Red Rook School district.

Dr. Laval Wilson, Superintendent of the Poughkeepsie City School District stated, "The school district was delighted to receive the special legislative grant of $200,000." He further stated that, "These funds will tremendously help to reinvigorate the Morse Magnet School program. Saturday classes will be offered to 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students at the school this September."