Educational policy decisions and the allocation of Community Education Program funds in New York State

James Michael Ryan, Fordham University


This study examines the process by which Community Education Program funds are allocated to local school districts in New York State. Case study methodology is used to conduct an in-depth review of four New York State Assemblymen and their relationships with local school district officials and the legislative leadership to determine the factors influencing this form of funding. Data for the study are provided from interviews with state assemblymen, local school district officials, and staff personnel from the offices of the legislative leadership. The major findings of the study are: (1) Legislators are either Passive, Inert, Dormant, or Active in their relationships with school districts at the local level and with the legislative leadership at the state level; (2) Strong legislator relationships at the local level are based upon the legislator's role orientation toward education, while strong state level relationships are a function of the legislator's party affiliation, marginality, and loyalty to the party leadership; (3) The allocation of Community Education Program funds to education projects sponsored by state assemblymen is a highly political process requiring strong relationships to be in place at the local and state levels to ensure funding. The conclusions of the study are: (1) State legislators play a major role in the allocation of Community Education Program funding to local school districts in New York State; (2) Competition for limited financial resources is prompting school officials to interact with their state legislators with increasing frequency; (3) Easton's Political Systems Model provides a useful framework for describing the interactions of school district officials and state legislators, legislators and the legislative leadership, and the resulting educational policy decisions; (4) The role orientation of the legislator toward education as a policy issue represents a major influence in determining legislator support for Community Education Programs; and (5) The legislative leadership plays a major role in determining the legislator's access to funding for local community projects. Support is based primarily on member party affiliation and marginality and is tied to the leadership's efforts to maintain control and power within the legislature.

Subject Area

School administration

Recommended Citation

Ryan, James Michael, "Educational policy decisions and the allocation of Community Education Program funds in New York State" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8821963.