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Study: Long Island Property Taxes Leave Low-Income Students Behind

October 17, 2007

Mineola, NY – Long Island's property tax rates are leaving plenty of children behind, especially in poor school districts, according to a new study. The academic disparity stems from uneven distribution of income and property wealth across school districts. This forces lower-income districts to impose higher property tax rates than "richer" districts, to fund local education. For some, the result is higher taxes for lower-quality education, according to Billy Easton with the Alliance for Quality Education.

"Taxpayers in lower-income and middle-income school districts are the ones who are generally feeling the greatest crunch on property taxes. People want a solution to their property taxes, but they don't want to sacrifice our kids in the process."

The study was conducted by a handful of groups, including Easton's. It also found that the problem is compounded for poor districts, because they're more likely to vote down special school funding initiatives; and that measures like caps on school funding don't actually help to level the playing field. Easton says funding gaps between districts still remain, which is bad news for poorer districts with greater educational needs and lower-performing schools.

"If you provide what is projected as an across-the-board solution, you end up throwing a lot of money at people who are not having a problem, and not enough at taxpayers who are actually suffering a real problem."

Report authors recommend raising statewide income tax revenues, and increasing the state contribution to local education to offset unequal student spending among the region's school districts.

The full report, "Property Taxes On Long Island: Zeroing In On The Problems And Solutions," is online at

Robert Knight/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NY