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1 School District Boundary Review Program (SDRP) Matt Reilly NYS Education Department 518-474-6541.

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1 1 School District Boundary Review Program (SDRP) Matt Reilly NYS Education Department 518-474-6541

2 2 School Districts as Geographic Units School districts are an atypical geography – except in the cases of small and big cities and one or two villages, they’re generally not coterminous with other municipalities in New York state and thus –Don’t easily aggregate and/or ‘scale up’ in the way that other Census geographies do: e.g., census tract to municipality (village, city, town) to county Map on the next page displays this: Albany county school districts (in light blue) and county boundaries (in gold) –Many of those on the periphery are located in both Albany and the surrounding counties of Greene, Schoharie & Schenectady

3 3 Albany County School Districts

4 4 School District Boundary Review PL 107-110, authorizing the federal No Child left Behind (NCLB) Act requires that states review the boundaries on record with the Census every two years as a condition for receipt of Title I funds (the main federal support for struggling schools characterized by high poverty) Underlying geography/maps revealed by this process becomes an input into the Census estimates of poor children, which along with other factors (e.g., foster care and TANF eligible children) drives Title I allocations to school districts, and schools (including charters and those that serve severely disabled children); See : – for the algorithm behind eligible child counts;

5 5 School District Boundary Review In SY 09-10, pursuant to Part A, the largest Title I fund, $1.134 billion was apportioned to counties and schools; an additional $904 million in ARRA (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – i.e., the federal stimulus) funds were distributed to Title I eligible entities Over the same period, State aid to school districts has not grown at the same rate as before (see graph in next slide) and the Executive recommends a cut of 5%; therefore, during the most recent two year SDRP cycled recently completed, anecdotal evidence suggested greater interest in boundary review so as to guarantee maximum Federal Title I funds.

6 6 Retrenchment in Increases in Total Statewide State Aid for Education, after Several Years of Significant Growth

7 7 SDRP Processing Before Boundary review between district and federal government was formerly a ‘paper’ process: –Census would mail to districts who sought to review the boundaries on file with Census a paper map; –If the district had changes, they would manually ‘mark up’ the map, and mail to the Census, who would make the boundary change.

8 8 SDRP Processing Now Now, with the most recent cycle just completed in the fall of 2009, the process is electronic: –Census provides PDFs of school district boundary maps and also posts them at a website which overlays district boundaries with: other geographies, highways, parks, bodies of water and other landmarks, to aid in boundary identification; –If a district requires a change, they notify SED staff, who makes the change using a custom GIS software product created for this purpose; –SED then uploads the new shapefiles of changed boundaries to the Census, who incorporates these into their geographic files; Between 20 and 25 or 3 to 4 percent of the State’s 676 districts made boundary changes (in each case, they were small changes of marginal value) in the fall of 2009 Nevertheless, we have reason to believe that this recent interest by school districts in getting their federal Census boundaries correct may be an outlier, driven by the slow recovery and the desire to maximize federal funds at a time of declining State aid to education.

9 9 Factors Mitigating Against Greater School District Interest in Decennial Census Data Districts have information on pupil demography that are strategic data elements for their operations and which are surrogates/correlates of Census data: –Free and reduced lunch counts, English language learners, students with disabilities, race/ethnicity, etc., which are correlates of poor achievement and which drive up education spending are collected annually; –Other data points, which are proxies for low SES and family dislocation/stress, such as student stability (i.e., the percentage of students residing in the district in yr. 1 remaining in the district at yr. 2) are also collected annually by SED.

10 10 On balance there is not a desire or feeling that “we need to capture or find more kids”: –Title 1 is not threshold based – that is, reaching the 50K, 100k or 200K threshold is not essential in terms of federal funding the way it might be in economic development or other policy areas Federal funding in total is just about 5% of K-12 funding in an average year (i.e., one in which there was no ARRA) Statewide – –Thus not as cost-beneficial to get their boundaries right – less in it for them The school districts with the greatest pockets of poverty and with therefore the most to gain from federal Title 1 allocation are in cities whose districts are coterminous with the boundaries of the city: –79% of Title I Part A allocations are comprised of the following 7 cities whose boundaries are well-known, established and coterminous with the city: –Albany, Buffalo, the 5 boroughs of New York, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse and Yonkers »Thus for close to 80%* of the State (on a funding-weighted basis) ascertaining whether the boundary is correct process is simple and straightforward by ‘eyeballing’ the map; Factors Mitigating Against Greater School District Interest in Boundary Review

11 11 Factors Mitigating Against Greater SED State Role in Boundary Review Intergovernmental relationship is different : –The State Education Department is not the executive branch in the same way as other State agencies: our Commissioner is appointed by the Board of Regents and not the Governor; As such, in areas outside of our normal, constitutional purview -- instruction, assessment (i.e., testing), the licensing of the teaching workforce and other professions -- we can’t or generally don’t choose to, compel district behavior; –So we can’t tell a district what its boundaries are. Rather we tell them “this is what the feds say the district’s geography is; you tell us if its right; otherwise we won’t change it.” Mandate relief is a significant factor in the current fiscal/economic environment No a priori theory which would lead us to think that there are pockets of uncounted kids or pockets of poverty on the periphery of a district which would cause districts to invest the necessary resources to get the boundaries perfect – a zero sum game

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