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Ticonderoga school proposes special education fund

State asked to assist schools in the Adirondack Park

Students attending schools in the Adirondack Park are at a disadvantage. That’s the feeling of Ticonderoga Central School District officials, who are asking the state to create a special fund to help finance education within the Blue Line.

Students attending schools in the Adirondack Park are at a disadvantage. That’s the feeling of Ticonderoga Central School District officials, who are asking the state to create a special fund to help finance education within the Blue Line. Photo by Nancy Frasier.

— It’s time for the state to acknowledge the Adirondack Park has changed since it was created in 1892. Then it was 2.6 million acres. Now it’s 6.1 million acres. The APA was formed in 1971 and regulations adopted to restrict development. Also, the state forest preserve has more than doubled.

“The park is a unique resource that New Yorkers should be proud of,” McDonald said, “but what has not been fully considered throughout its evolution and growth is the negative impact on the public educational institutions and the children they serve.”

Ti officials hope other school districts, towns and counties support their proposal.

“We want a united front; not just one school,” McDonald said. “Ticonderoga is trying to get the ball rolling, but we hope this gets support from school boards, towns and counties in the Adirondack Park.”

McDonald said he has had “positive” discussions with state Sen. Betty Little’s office on the issue.

A special education fund for Adirondack schools would benefit the entire region, McDonald believes.

“Although directed at schools, this fund would benefit all that reside within the park as it will reduce everyone’s reliance on the property tax,” he said. “In addition, it will confirm the state’s commitment to keep the park as a natural preserve and further demonstrate that it is a model for conservation for all New Yorkers.”

The superintendent stressed the Ticonderoga proposal is not an attack on the APA or the state. Adirondack schools face unusual challenges, he said, and need help.

“We’re not trying to be critical of the state or the APA (Adirondack Park Agency),” McDonald said. “We’re pointing out that the Adirondack Park is a unique place with unique rules and regulations. The state needs to recognize those regulations impact the people who live here.”

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