Numerous students at Cornell have been exposed to, involved in the research and engagement through this project. Predominantly through Professor Warner's City and Regional Planning undergraduate and graduate program and courses, students received rich experience and grounding through involvement in this project.
The local and state municipal and school leaders also engaged in professional development through this project. By participating in our symposia, reading our research briefs and papers, and engaging with us as we collect data, these professionals are exposed to information, people and interactions they otherwise would not have access to.
impact statement issue
Local governments and school districts across New York State are in crisis. The property tax cap of 2011, along with a protracted recession, which has deepened for local governments and flat or declining state aid has created a fiscal crisis for local governments. Our 2013 statewide survey of local governments in NYS found over 60% reported moderate to severe fiscal stress as rising service costs and flat revenues reach a breaking point. At no time in the state's recent history have local governments and school districts been under more fiscal stress. This creates an opportunity to explore new service delivery strategies and fundamentally reshape the nature of local government and school collaboration. Cornell has a special role to play in providing research - built together with extension and local governments and school district partners - to better diagnose the problem and identify innovative solutions. We have built the foundation for this work with a statewide survey of all towns, counties, cities, villages and school districts conducted in 2013. That survey grew out of a 3-year collaboration with the statewide local government and school district associations. We are now poised to conduct analysis, which links this original survey data with statewide databases on financial and demographic measures. We will also develop case studies from the more than 400 short descriptions of innovative projects we gathered in the survey. These will be used to prepare training programs for our partners.
impact statement response
1. Our work continues to examine the impact of fiscal stress on NYS local governments and schools. We continue to link demographic, fiscal and performance data to enable analyses that will both advance the research literature and the knowledge and awareness of local and state government leaders.
2. We have made some progress on this front. The survey data is still fresh and provides a unique and valuable dataset with which we can public peer-reviewed articles and smaller policy and issue briefs.
3. We hosted two statewide symposia this year. One in December of 2015 in Saratoga and one in Ithaca in July. Each of these reached a broad audience that does not typically come together to discuss, debate and learn. The range of participants including municipal leaders (from towns, counties, cities, villages), school leaders (superintendents, board members, union
￼Report Date 02/26/2016 Page 1 of 7
Accession No. 1003972 Project No. NYC-159422
leaders), and state agency leaders is unique and of huge value to this work.
• We co-organized a summit on fiscal stress in December of 2015 in Saratoga, NY along with our statewide partners: NY State's Teachers Union, the School Board Association, the Association of Counties, the Association of Towns, and the Conference of Mayors. The summit attracted over 120 people from across the state and generated debate, discussion, sharing of research findings, policy interpretation, and a set of action items moving forward.
• We worked in support of Cornell's Community and Regional Development Institute on their annual Community Development Institute. The theme was "Strong Families <--> Strong Communities." We (Warner, Sipple, Grad Students, and Undergraduate Students) gave multiple presentations and served on several discussant panels to the audience of 80 people.
impact statement summary
We have continued to shape discussion among local government and school leaders in terms of creative response to fiscal stress.
Both Basic Research and Applied Research
Sipple, John W. Associate Professor and Director, NYS Center for Rural Schools