Incentives for consolidating school districts

Most were common school districts providing education only through the 8th grade; many were organized around a one-room school. By the beginning of this century over 10,000 school districts were in existence.Bob Dana was shocked the first time he looked closely at a map for the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District.The school district, like others in Western New York, was considering closing schools as the number of students dropped and expenses rose.Legislative proposals to come from the administration and lawmakers may and should fill in the gaps to move beyond financial incentives, which haven’t worked in the past.Instead, communities need models they can adapt to their own school systems to make them more effective.And yet Erie County’s public schools recorded the steepest percent decline in enrollment between 2007-08 and the 2012-13 school years among the state’s counties and boroughs whose school districts enrolled 100,000 or more students in kindergarten through high school, according to a Buffalo News analysis of state Education Department data.

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Although these small units provided a basic education to thousands of children, some mechanism was needed to provide the more comprehensive and intensive education which was not feasible given the limited tax and student bases of these small districts.

But there, in the northwest corner of the town, were neighborhoods of students that went to nearby Sweet Home.

Why, thought Dana, couldn’t those students attend school in Ken-Ton?

There have been numerous amendments to the Plan since that time, but the 1958 Plan continues to be a guide for reorganization in New York.

The Structure of New York State School Districts Table 1: New York State School Districts as of July 2010 III. The 1947 document was updated a decade later and, in 1958, it was renamed the State Plan for School District Reorganization.


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