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Lupardo Concerned About School District Finances

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

The financial situation facing many New York state school districts is worsening and officials are publicly worrying about what might happen if districts can’t pay their bills.

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo says she meets regularly with local school officials. She says last year they were asking her questions about whether it was possible for a school district to declare bankruptcy. It was learned that under state law, that’s not an option.

Speaking on WNBF Radio’s Binghamton Now program, Lupardo said the focus has turned to fiscal insolvency and what happens when the revenue they have is not adequate to cover school district costs.

Lupardo has written to state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to ask what would happen in that case. She wants to know what the practical implications would be for a district unable to meet its expenses.

Lupardo said apparently there are no provisions for schools in New York that declare themselves insolvent.

The Endwell Democrat said obtaining more state aid might be one option. Another possibility would be for a control board to take charge of a school district’s operations.

Lupardo views the thought of a control board overseeing a district and making program cuts as “terrible.”

Lupardo said she has received an initial response from the comptroller’s office, indicating essentially that school districts have an obligation to provide services, so “they have to figure it out and good luck.”

Lupardo said she’s working with an Assembly colleague to “force a conversation about the school aid formula.”

Lupardo said the existing aid formula doesn’t adequately address the challenges facing the state’s low-wealth school districts.

 

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