REPORT: New York’s Chronic Underfunding of Schools & the Disparate Impact on Black & Latino Students

Spending Gap has Increased 24% Under Governor Cuomo

ALBANY, NY (September 11, 2018) — A new report from the Alliance for Quality Education shows the effects of educational racism in New York’s schools, and the disparate impact of New York State’s failure to fully fund schools on Black and Latino communities.

The report, titled “Educational Racism: Andrew Cuomo’s Record of Underfunding Public Schools in Black & Latino Communities,” focuses on school districts in New York that are both high need and majority Black and Latino, and the impact of New York’s failure to fully fund its equitable school funding formula, the Foundation Aid formula, on those districts.

Those 25 high need, majority Black and Latino school districts, out of 674 total, together educate 80 percent Black and Latino (Latinx) students in the state, and 69 percent of the students in the state that economically disadvantaged. One hundred percent of those districts is owed Foundation Aid by the state, compared to just two-thirds of districts that are owed funding statewide.

Collectively, these majority Black and Latino districts are owed 62 percent ($2.6 billion) of all Foundation Aid (state operating aid). “The failure to fully fund Foundation Aid,” the report states, “results in the failure to adequately fund schools that are majority Black and Latino.” Read the full report here.

“When Governor Cuomo says that we’re spending too much on our schools, he is choosing to ignore the 8 out of every 10 Black and Latino students in our state. For decades, Black and Latino families and students have been telling stories of underfunding and inequity, Andrew Cuomo ignores us. Educational racism continues to deny Black and Latino children the educational opportunities that children in wealthy, well-funded and predominantly white school districts have access to,” says Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director, Alliance for Quality Education.

The report also looks at how chronic underfunding of schools in New York State has had negative and disparate impacts for Black and Latino and low income students. It finds that, “The graduation rate for these 25 school districts is 69 percent compared to the 95 percent graduation rate wealthy districts in New York State have. Just 13 percent of the graduates in these 25 districts earn an Advanced Regents diploma whereas 58 percent of the graduating cohort in wealthy districts earn an Advanced Regents diploma.”

Since Governor Cuomo took office in 2011, he has exhibited an unwillingness to redress inequity in funding for public schools. His budgets only provided minimal increases of Foundation Aid, barely keeping up with inflation. The spending gap between wealthy and poor school districts in New York State is nearly $10,000 per pupil and has grown by 24 percent under Governor Cuomo. According to the New York State Education Department and the Board of Regents, and based on current law, the state owes school districts $4.2 billion in Foundation Aid.


Read the full report here.