Long Island has become the 3rd most segregated suburban region according to John McNally, an Enviromental Program Officer for the the Rauch Foundation. McNally held a seminar at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY on July 6, 2011 to discuss the goals of the Rauch Foundation. McNally has worked with the foundation to try to improve Long Island as a whole. There are many issues that the island faces such as segregation within it’s communities, and it’s quality of education which is slowly dwindling.
One of the foundation’s goals to is to merge different school districts together. Long Island has been separated into 127 different school districts. Of the 3,006 counties within the country, Nassau county ranks number 7 for the most school districts within a county and Suffolk ranks number 4 according to studies done by the Rauch Foundation. McNally said it would be beneficial to the island to possibly have 12 school districts instead of 127. He also stated if there were less districts, the schools would also become more integrated and improve education. He believes that teaching the students on an equal level would make all the students’ scores improve which would result in spending less money on various educational programs.
One other goal of the Rauch Foundation is to improve education for younger children within disadvantaged communities. Most communities focus on spending their revenue on the later years of education but the Rauch foundation believes it would be beneficial to focus spending on the earlier years of education. Studies by the foundation show for every dollar invested in early education programs, there will be a 7 dollar return. Not only would communities benefit financially but also the education would be improved. According to studies, the brain absorbs more information when children are younger. 85% of brain development occurs before the age of 3. According to the Rauch Foundation to have a higher quality early childhood program certain necessities would be well prepared teachers, two years of service for children, a full day program, a curriculum based on social, emotional, and cognitive development, availability of social services, and involved parents.
The Rauch Foundation has also noticed the growing tax problems affect on education. Studies shown by the foundation show that 49% of Long Island’s revenue comes from property taxes. 60% of property taxes go towards funds for schools and education. This show’s the island’s dependency on property taxes.The size and wealth of communities affect their capability to raise revenue for the students within the community. Lower income communities would have to pay much more in taxes then higher income communities. For example, the foundation did a study that shows a household in Brentwood would have to pay $325.67 to raise $250 per student whereas a household in Fire Island would only have to pay $1.72 to raise the same amount. Brentwood is also 75% nonwhite and consists mainly of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and other races. Fire Island is about 96% white.
According to studies done by the Rauch Founation, people are becoming more and more dissatisfied with Long Island. Between 2000-2009, the island lost 15% of its population between the ages of 25-34 years old. The Rauch Foundation has come up with many ways to try to improve Long Island. One of their main goals is to improve the education on the island. The foundation believes that they can improve it by having fewer school districts. This will help to integrate schools and put students on an equal level. Also the foundation believes in investing more money into early childhood education programs. Investing in early childhood education will help improve education and Long Island can benefit from it financially. The Rauch Foundation continues to work to achieve their goals and improve Long Island as a whole.