School Superintendents Discuss Civil Rights Concerns

Jun 13, 2013

School officials say the racial demographic of a school district affects the amount of state funding provided.

Two upstate school districts are planning to file a civil rights complaint this summer  against New York State alleging discrimination in the way state aid is distributed.

The districts' discontent arises from research conducted by  Larry Spring, the Schenectady City School District Superintendent, concerning  the state aid formula: Spring is troubled by the notion that the racial demographic of a school district would affect the amount of state funding provided.  He expressed his concerns in emails he sent  to 42 other districts across New York that have mostly non-white students, and Wednesday he met with superintendents from around the state at Proctor's Theatre.

Billy Easton with the Alliance For Quality Education says Spring and the districts make a valid point.  Superintendent Spring says he expects an actual complaint to be filed with the office for civil rights by the end of summer.  A woman who answered the phone at the New York State Education department said it was unlikely the agency would comment.

With all the recent headlines on education funding and testing,  Kenneth Eastwood , the Superintendent of Schools in Middletown, Orange County, believes schools, students and taxpayers have a stake in this issue. It is not known how many districts will eventually sign the formal complaint. The Schenectady Gazette reported that Albany City School District officials are "eager to join the effort" - calls to district officials in Albany were not returned.