Our rural communities are facing unprecedented challenges.  Political, economic and social factors are combining to make rural education and indeed rural life, a struggle.


Is the future of your community and its children worth 90 minutes of your time? 


What frustrates you in making your school, your community or your business thrive in your rural setting?  Your Rural Schools Association is holding regional Rural Issues Forums to start the process of recovery.  At these forums, you’ll first hear a short briefing on the state of rural schools and communities by David Little, the Executive Director of the Rural Schools Association of NYS and Director of Cornell’s Rural Schools Program.  Then, YOU will have the chance to offer your thoughts on the challenges and issues faced by rural schools and the communities that support them. 


Your listing of those challenges, your examples and your suggestions for addressing them will be reviewed by a statewide task force of experts and included in a Policy Brief presented to national and New York State leaders.  We need to clearly identify the obstacles to building thriving rural communities in our state and offer a plan to remove those barriers. 


The issues included in the Policy Brief will form the basis of an advocacy campaign intended to urge our leaders to rid us of those barriers and to make intentional improvements to rural life in New York State. 

 It all starts with you!


Join us on the following dates to begin pulling up our bootstraps. 


September 23 Saratoga Springs – (City Center, NYSCOSS Fall Institute) 3 PM


October 2 - Chautauqua County School Boards Assn. (Shorewood Country Club
4958 W Lake Rd, Dunkirk, NY 14048) 5:30 PM


October 7 - SUNY Oneonta –(5:30-8 p.m. Morris Conference Center)  Dinner 5:30, forum 6-8 PM


October 17 - Riverhead, Long Island (Large Instructional Center of the Ward Technical Center, Eastern Suffolk BOCES)


November 5 – St Lawrence BOCES


November 6 – Plattsburgh (CVS BOCES Instructional Services Center) 6 PM


November 7 - Erie County, dinner catered at the Erie 1 BOCES

355 Harlem Road, West Seneca, New York 14224


January 14 – Warrensburg Central School District

September 17, 2019
Hearing Room A
Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Video of Broadband Hearing Testimony 
Written Broadband Hearing Testimony
Legislative Testimony  2019
See it live here at 9:34
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A Vision For Your Rural Schools Association

The RSA Board of Directors has set a new direction for your association. Here is the new vision for your Rural Schools Association:


RSA’s vision is to add significant advocacy on behalf of member districts to its array of member services.  Rural schools are frequently politically marginalized and underfunded. In response, RSA will seek to educate leaders on the impact of proposals on rural schools and to inform them of methods of helping improve educational opportunities in rural communities.  It will do this by providing authoritative information, presented in a professional way.  RSA will regularly attend meetings of the Board of Regents and the state legislative education committees, hold meetings with state leaders and key staff and provide written reports, reactions to regulatory proposals and legislative bill memos. RSA will analyze the Executive Budget and the enacted State Budget, as well as issue veto requests of legislation when warranted.  RSA will also provide an analysis of legislative activity from a rural school perspective at the conclusion of the legislative session. 

Within the educational community, RSA intends to work collaboratively with partnering associations to advance the general interests of public education.  This work will include producing research reports, joint advocacy statements and testimony at legislative hearings. 


In order to be influential in educating state leaders to the rural school perspective, RSA must become regularly visible.  This can be accomplished through issuing press releases on relevant issues, letters to the editor, releasing reports and studies, as well as serving as a spokesperson for radio, television and the print media.  RSA will be a regular presenter at educational conferences and forums, meet with business and higher educational leaders, in addition to providing members with periodic webinars and video clips related to timely issues.  Staff will regularly travel to meet the demands of increased requests for local Rural Schools Association presentations.


Your Rural Schools Association is increasing communication with you by providing regular issues of Albany Alerts and Washington Watch (where we will let you know about important governmental proposals with the potential of affecting your rural district.)  We are expanding the number of people who receive information from RSA to include all administrators and staff, as well as board of education members.  RSA will also produce a “Who We Are” video to let folks know the programs and services available through RSA.  We plan regional forums to make it easier for you to attend RSA events.  Finally, RSA makes every effort to come to your district personally whenever you feel we can help.  


One of the most effective ways to increase the recognition of rural school issues is by partnering with organizations that hold similar positions and have like interests.  Those kind of partnerships can be temporary around a single issue or they can be longstanding.  Our rural schools are closely aligned with business interests, economic development issues and the higher education and military aspirations of our students.  RSA reaches out to groups representing those issues to build strong mutual support.


The partnership between the Rural Schools Association and Cornell University is historically and programmatically important for our rural schools.  The Rural Schools Program of RSA is part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and is a member of the Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI).  Each of these partnerships affords RSA the opportunity to serve students and its member districts through programs, services and research.  Your association is increasing the use of paid and credit bearing programs for student interns to increase the level of information, research and services we provide to you.  RSA serves as your full partner in the efforts of these groups to ensure that both they and our rural schools receive their full benefit.  In addition, RSA hosts the Center for Rural Schools, a data driven member service.  Rural Schools may use the center to compare their economic status, enrollment projections, academic performance and other factors against similarly situated schools, other schools within their region or all schools in the state.


In the big picture, the interests of rural schools in New York State aren’t that different from other rural schools in the Northeast.  Funding, enrollment and economic stagnation affect us all.  RSA is beginning to reach out to organizations and institutions in surrounding states so that we might identify common issues and concerns and arrive at shared approaches.  There is strength in numbers and together, we can have a louder voice and a stronger presence for rural schools by collaborating with our neighbors.

If you have suggestions for additional ways we can carry out this vision or if you have information you know will be helpful in our efforts to educate leaders, please be sure to contact us.


Cornell University Office


Rural Schools Association
Warren Hall 275 Flex
Ithaca, New York, 14853


Office: 607.255.8709

Fax: 607.254.2896 

Albany Office

Rural Schools Association

24 Century Hill Drive, Suite 200-A

Latham, NY 12110


Office: 518.250.5710

Cell: 518.888.4598

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