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New York school districts

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K-12 Education in New York
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Education facts
State Superintendent: John King (New York)
Number of students: 2,704,718[1]
Number of teachers: 209,527
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:12.9
Number of school districts: 923
Number of schools: 4,752
Graduation rate: 77%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $19,076[3]
See also
New York Department of EducationList of school districts in New YorkNew YorkSchool boards portal
Education policy logo.jpg
Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in New York
Glossary of education terms

New York is home to 923 school districts, 4,752 schools and 2,704,718 K-12 students.[4][5][6]

Quick facts

State school administrators

  • State Board of Regents[7]
    • Merryl H. Tisch, Chancellor, At-Large Member
    • Anthony S. Bottar, Vice Chancellor, Fifth Judicial District
    • Robert M. Bennett, Chancellor Emeritus, Eighth Judicial District
    • Charles R. Bendit, First Judicial District
    • Dr. Kathleen M. Cashin, Second Judicial District
    • Josephine Victoria Finn, Third Judicial District
    • Dr. James C. Dawson, Fourth Judicial District
    • James R. Tallon, Jr., Sixth Judicial District
    • T. Andrew Brown, Seventh Judicial District
    • Harry Phillips, III, Ninth Judicial District
    • Roger Tilles, Tenth Judicial District
    • Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey, Eleventh Judicial District
    • Dr. Betty A. Rosa, Twelfth Judicial District
    • Christine D. Cea, Thirteenth Judicial District
    • Dr. James E. Cottrell, At-Large Member
    • Wade S. Norwood, At-Large Member
    • Dr. Lester W. Young, Jr., At-Large Member


The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment and per-pupil spending.[8][9]

Student enrollment Per-pupil spending
1.) New York City Department of Education 1.) Kiryas Joel
2.) Buffalo 2.) Bridgehampton Union Free
3.) Rochester City 3.) Long Lake Central
4.) Yonkers 4.) Fishers Island Union Free
5.) Syracuse City 5.) Amagansett Union Free
6.) Brentwood Union Free 6.) Newcomb Central
7.) Sachem Central 7.) Pocantico Hills Central
8.) Wappingers Central 8.) Southampton Union Free
9.) Greece Central 9.) Minerva Central
10.) Newburgh Enlarged City 10.) Shelter Island Union Free


See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in New York as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[10]

Demographic Information for New York's K-12 Public School System
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 14,675 0.54% 1.10%
Asian 226,656 8.38% 4.68%
African American 500,175 18.49% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students 5,214 0.19% 0.42%
Hispanic 630,920 23.33% 24.37%
White 1,304,500 48.23% 51.21%
Two or More 22,578 0.83% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

In the news

New York City preschool expansion

One of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's (D) primary campaign planks in 2013 was the establishment of free, full-day prekindergarten to help low-income families who live in the city's school district. His initial proposal financed the expansion by raising taxes on high-income city residents.[11] On March 29, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo and leaders in the New York State Legislature reached an agreement on the state budget. The budget included $300 million in funding for the New York City prekindergarten expansion, but it did not use Mayor de Blasio's tax plan to finance the expenditures. The funding was also less than the $340 million requested by the city, and the budget included a requirement for the New York City government to allocate space in public school buildings or to pay a share of the overhead expenses for charter schools on private land in the city, which Mayor de Blasio had previously fought. He still celebrated the announcement, arguing that it was "an extraordinary and historic step forward for New York City. [...] It’s clearly the resources we need to create full-day pre-K for every child in this city. That’s what we set out to do."[12]

The city intended to enroll approximately 53,000 full-day preschool children during the 2014-2015 school year. Before the expansion, the city had facilities for approximately 20,000 full-day preschool students. Center for Children's Initiatives Executive Director Nancy Kolben, who served on the committee formed by Mayor de Blasio to handle the prekindergarten plan, stated that the goal is to have 70,000 full-day children enrolled for the 2015-2016 school year.[13] Mayor de Blasio charged Sophia Pappas, executive director of the city's Office of Early Childhood Education, with the implementation of the program.[14]

Buffalo Superintendent Pamela Brown

Significant divisions arose within the Buffalo Board of Education after the election of former gubernatorial candidate and local businessman Carl P. Paladino in 2013. In that race, Paladino campaigned for the removal of incumbent board members and the dismissal of the district's top administrators, including Superintendent Pamela Brown.[15] After joining the board, Paladino continued to call for Superintendent Brown's resignation or firing, stating that she was "obviously incapable."[16][17] In September 2013, the board ruled in a 5-4 decision to keep the superintendent in place.[18]

In May 2014, Superintendent Brown announced her intention to resign after her opponents on the board won a governing majority following the election of Larry Quinn and Patricia B. Pierce.[19] The school voted 7-2 to accept her resignation on June 16, 2014. In exchange for her voluntary resignation, the district agreed to pay her a year's salary and other compensation that totaled up to $238,667. The school board appointed district administrator Will Keresztes to the position of interim superintendent while it conducts a hiring search for Brown's long-term replacement.[20][21]

State law

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The New York State Education Department adopted these standards on July 19, 2010.[22] Implementation of the Common Core State Standards began in 2011. The standards will be fully implemented for the 2014-2015 school year.[23]

School board composition

New York school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although school board members in New York City and Yonkers are appointed. New York school board elections typically follow one of these three methods, or a mixture thereof:

  • At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
  • Trustee area: Only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.
  • Trustee area at-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, but candidates must reside in specific geographic areas within the school district.

School boards typically consist of between one to nine members, although there are exceptions. Most board members serve three, four or five-year terms, although there are exceptions to that, as well.[24]

District types

New York contains seven types of school districts:[25][26]

  • Central districts are traditional school districts that provide K-12 educational services to students. They can be created through mergers of common, union free or other central districts.
  • Central high school districts provide secondary education services to common or union free district students. The governing body is made up of appointed representatives from the constituent school districts it serves.
  • City districts are traditional school districts that provide K-12 educational services to students within the boundaries of the city limits. The city must have a population of less than 125,000 residents to receive this classification.
  • Enlarged city districts are identical to city districts except that the boundaries of the district extend beyond the city limits.
  • Dependent city districts are in cities with a population greater than 125,000 residents. The district operates as part of the municipal government, including the school district's funding. The governing body does not have the power to levy taxes or incur debt in a dependent city district. The five dependent city districts are Buffalo, New York City, Rochester City, Syracuse City and Yonkers. Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse have elected governing bodies. The governing body in New York City is appointed by the mayor and the borough presidents, and the governing body in Yonkers is appointed by only the mayor.
  • Common districts are the oldest form of school district in New York. Common districts are not legally authorized to establish high schools, so common districts send their students to high schools in a neighboring district or districts. The governing body can consist of one or three board members.
  • Union free districts consist of two or more common districts merged together. The purpose was initially to provide high schools to students, but some union free districts operating today only provide K-8 educational services and still send their students to high schools in a neighboring district or districts.

Term limits

New York does not impose statewide term limits on school board members.[27]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: New York school board elections, 2015

A total of 17 New York school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold elections for 46 seats in 2015. All of the districts, except for Rochester City School District, will hold elections on May 19, 2015. Rochester will hold elections on November 3, 2015.

Here are several quick facts about New York's school board elections in 2015:

The districts listed below served 218,745 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.

2015 New York School Board Elections
District Date Seats up for election Total board seats Student enrollment
Arlington Central School District 5/19/2015 3 9 9,471
Brentwood Union Free School District 5/19/2015 3 7 17,143
Greece Central School District 5/19/2015 3 9 11,871
Half Hollow Hills Central School District 5/19/2015 2 7 9,868
Middle Country Central School District 5/19/2015 3 9 10,163
Newburgh Enlarged City School District 5/19/2015 3 9 11,544
New Rochelle School District 5/19/2015 2 9 10,781
North Syracuse Central School District 5/19/2015 3 9 9,388
Sachem Central School District 5/19/2015 3 9 14,465
Schenectady City School District 5/19/2015 2 7 9,821
Shenendehowa Central School District 5/19/2015 2 7 9,800
Smithtown Central School District 5/19/2015 2 7 10,623
Syracuse City School District 5/19/2015 4 7 20,491
Utica City School District 5/19/2015 1 7 9,619
Wappingers Central School District 5/19/2015 3 9 11,950
Williamsville Central School District 5/19/2015 3 9 10,315
Rochester City School District 11/3/2015 4 7 31,432

Path to the ballot

To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in New York, a person must be:

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Able to read and write
  • A qualified voter in the district
  • A resident of the district for between 30 days and three years before the election, depending on the district

A person must not be:

  • Employed by the school district
  • Married or related to a current member of the board

The process of running for office as a school board candidate begins with filing nomination papers with the school district clerk. The number of petition signatures required varies from a flat number of 100 qualified voters in the district to either 25 qualified voters or two percent of the number of voters in the previous election, whichever number is greater. Nominating petitions must be filed with the district clerk either 30 or 20 days before the election, depending on the district.[24]

Campaign finance

New York requires all school board candidates to file three campaign finance reports with the district clerk during the election cycle. If a candidate's expenditures exceed $500, the candidate must file an additional report with the New York Commissioner of Education.[24]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. Information and Reporting Services, "Table 2: Number Of Public School Districts By Type," accessed August 9, 2013
  5. New York State Education Department, "The New York State Report Card 2011–12," accessed August 9, 2013
  6. Information and Reporting Services, "Directory of Public and Non-Public Schools and Administrators in New York State," accessed August 9, 2013
  7. New York State Education Department, "Current Members of the Board of Regents," accessed June 13, 2014
  8. Information and Reporting Services, "Education Statistics for New York State," accessed August 9, 2013
  9. Fiscal Analysis & Research Unit, "The Fiscal Profile Reporting System," accessed August 9, 2013
  10. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  11. The New York Times, "Obstacles Seen for de Blasio’s Preschools Plan," August 28, 2013
  12. The New York Times, "State Budget Deal Reached; $300 Million for New York City Pre-K," March 29, 2014
  13. Education Week, "N.Y.C. Hustles to Make Use of Pre-K Windfall," April 7, 2014
  14. The Wall Street Journal, "Head of New York City's Pre-K Expansion Has Daunting Job Ahead," May 18, 2014
  15. WBFO 88.7: NPR News & More, "Paladino to launch major push to remove school board incumbents," January 24, 2013
  16. WBFO 88.7: NPR News & More, "Paladino wins, vows to shake up school district," May 8, 2013
  17. WBFO 88.7: NPR News & More, "Seeking changes, Paladino takes school board seat," July 10, 2013
  18. WBFO 88.7: NPR News & More, "Board votes to keep Superintendent Brown," September 26, 2013
  19. The Buffalo News, "Incoming School Board majority wants search for interim superintendent to begin ‘immediately’," June 3, 2014
  20. The Buffalo News, "Brown is out; Keresztes named interim superintendent for Buffalo schools," June 16, 2014
  21. Time Warner Cable News, "Buffalo School Board Makes Superintendent's Resignation Official," June 16, 2014
  22. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed July 12, 2014
  23. Engage NY, "Common Core Implementation Timeline," accessed June 17, 2014
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 New York State School Boards Association, "Running for the School Board," accessed July 11, 2014
  25. United State Census Bureau, "New York," accessed July 11, 2014
  26. New York State Education Department, "Guide to the Reorganization of School Districts in New York State," accessed July 11, 2014
  27. National School Boards Association, "Survey of the State School Boards Associations on Term Limits for Local Board Members," accessed July 8, 2014