Support Our Work

As a nonprofit organization, ELC relies on the generous contributions of individuals, corporations and foundations to support our work.

donate now

Join Our Network

Name

Org.

Email

Anti-spam

NEW YORK SCHOOL FUNDING REMAINS BELOW CONSTITUTIONAL LEVEL

April 18, 2019

As the dust settles on the final FY20 New York State Budget, 128 high need school districts continue to be shortchanged billions in Foundation Aid through the formula that determines the level of funding for each district to provide students with a sound basic education under the State Constitution.

This year’s budget session started with high expectations of achieving the first of a three-year phase-in of the over $4 billion gap in Foundation Aid, a gap that has persisted for almost a decade. In 2009-10, the Governor and the Legislature reneged on the State’s commitment to reach full Foundation Aid funding by 2011.

Despite concerted efforts by dedicated parents, advocates and lawmakers, the final budget increased Foundation Aid by only $618 million, slightly above Governor Cuomo’s initial budget proposal. The Governor has staunchly resisted full funding of the Foundation Aid formula, even though this funding level is widely accepted as the benchmark to comply with the constitutional mandate for a sound basic education.

The continuing failure to provide school funding at constitutional levels most impacts students in New York’s high need districts. These districts have significant enrollments of low-income students and serve communities with low property wealth and household income.

Among the high need districts most shortchanged are East Ramapo, Middletown, Port Chester, Mount Morris and several districts on Long Island, including Roosevelt, Brentwood, and Wyandanch. The Foundation Aid gaps in these districts approach 50%.

Overall, the Foundation Aid increase in the final State Budget for high need districts is $338 per-pupil on average, barely enough to keep pace with rising costs, much less support the dramatic improvements needed to ensure students a meaningful opportunity for a sound basic education. These districts often face chronic shortages in resources identified as essential in the landmark Campaign for Fiscal Equity court rulings, which include counseling, tutoring, language services, and other critical staff and programs.

More precise data on the Foundation Aid gaps for the 2019-2020 school year will be available in November. In prior years, this data showed a widening of formula aid gaps.

“The final budget for the eleventh straight year deprives vulnerable students across the state of their constitutional right to adequately funded and well-resourced public schools,” said David Sciarra, Executive Director of Education Law Center. “Despite this setback, we’re heartened by the work of so many champions of education justice in the Legislature who fought to provide school funding at levels consistent with the State’s fundamental constitutional obligation to all New York students.”

 

Press Contact:

Sharon Krengel
Policy and Outreach Director
skrengel@edlawcenter.org
973-624-1815, x 24