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Monday, August 30, 2010

School district boundaries

Question: Seeing the tax rates per town table in one of the other questions leads me to ask - how are school district lines determined? How is it that towns that have their own schools are part of our district? How is it that parts of Broadalbin and Perth don't belong to the B-P district?

Answer: According to New York State Education Law (Article 37, Section 1801: Formation and Changes of Central School Districts), "The commissioner of education is hereby authorized and empowered to lay out central school districts for the establishment of central schools to give instruction in elementary or elementary and high school subjects and to fix, determine and define the boundaries of said districts as hereinafter provided."

That being said, the boundaries of the former Broadalbin and Perth central schools were created long before my time. When the two districts merged, their boundaries were also merged. Today, the boundary we work with is based on the taxable parcels in the district tax rolls.

School district boundaries have a lot to do with the proximity of a property to area schools. For instance, you could live in the Town of Amsterdam but still live a long way away from Amsterdam schools; however, you might be very close to B-P schools. This might also explain why some parcels in the Town of Broadalbin are part of the Mayfield Central School District and some parcels in the Town of Perth are part of the Greater Amsterdam School District -- and why Broadalbin-Perth's district boundary includes part of nine different towns. The map below from the New York State Interactive Mapping Gateway might help you visualize this (click on the image to enlarge; click here to customize your view):

There are a few places along the boundary of the B-P district where things get a bit complicated. For instance, along Log City Road in the Town of Amsterdam there are several places where neighboring parcels are in different school districts.

Boundaries between school districts can be changed. For instance, a family living on Log City Road whose property is part of the Greater Amsterdam School District can formally petition the Amsterdam Board of Education to let Broadalbin-Perth annex their property. However, this rarely happens since school districts are understandably reluctant to part with existing taxable parcels.
- answered by Marco Zumbolo, School Business Administrator

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