State Journal

April 30, 2003 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Student Report

Even though students are often the ones most directly affected by the school funding decisions made by state and district leaders, their voices are rarely a part of those conversations.

But, as the state’s economic pains threaten to diminish the local district budget in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., a high school class there is speaking out.

At the urging of district officials, about 35 students at Poughkeepsie High School coordinated a schoolwide survey to find out what their peers wanted to see in their school.

The students, who are part of semester- long “Participation in Government” classes, first sent a questionnaire to the school’s 1,000 students. They took the most relevant responses and wrote a survey with 57 questions, then analyzed the results of the 600 returns.

From that survey, they found that most students wanted their district leaders to provide more college counseling, more flexibility in class schedules and course offerings, and cleaner, renovated facilities—particularly restrooms.

Next, a handful of students made presentations to the superintendent, the district business manager, principals, local teachers’ union leaders, and the school board. They’ve also included some no-cost ideas, such as getting groups of students to “adopt” hallways to keep clean.

Teacher Rick Keller-Coffey said he often uses the school budget as a teaching tool in the state-mandated class, so his students can relate to something close to home. And given that New York state budget cuts could affect Poughkeepsie schools, students were more interested in ways to get involved and find cost-efficient ways to further their learning, he said.

The issue resonated especially loudly: Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican, is proposing to cut $1.2 billion in K-12 spending, which would total $13.4 billion for fiscal 2004. (“New York District Rebels Against Tardy State Legislature,” April 23, 2003.) “Knowing how crazy budgets are, especially this year, they came up with some very good ideas,” Mr. Keller-Coffey said.

Some of the students weren’t sold on the idea at first, he added, but once district leaders and the local news media started to give them notice, they became more enthusiastic.

The students received many compliments and praise from district and school officials, Mr. Keller-Coffey reported. Now, he said, those leaders are sorting through some of the ideas as they prepare next year’s budget.

—Joetta L. Sack

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP