Rockefeller Institute Report on School Funding is Latest Effort by Team Cuomo to Shirk Responsibility for Funding High Needs Schools

ALBANY, NY (November 14, 2018) — Today the Rockefeller Institute, a part of SUNY, released a report on school funding written by its President Jim Malatras, who served for many years as one of Andrew Cuomo’s top political aides. Across the state schools are owed $4.2 billion in Foundation Aid, according to data from the State Education Department.  

“The Rockefeller Institute report is the latest effort by Team Cuomo to shirk responsibility for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s failure to adequately fund high need school districts. The report is part of an orchestrated effort by Andrew Cuomo to divert attention away from his consistent opposition to fully funding the Foundation Aid formula that was established to address the huge inequities in funding between rich and poor school districts statewide,” said Marina Marcou-O’Malley, Policy Director, Alliance for Quality Education.

“The implication of the report is that high need school districts are spending too much on what the Rockefeller Institute refers to as their ‘wealthiest schools.’ But almost every school in these districts is actually high poverty. For instance there are only two schools in Buffalo where less than 50 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged and the Buffalo schools that the Rockefeller report classifies as wealthy have student poverty rates as high as 77 percent. The same pattern exists in other high need districts included in the report.

“Rather than taxing billionaires and having the state fairly fund schools, Andrew Cuomo, and his operatives at the Rockefeller Institute, would have local school districts redistribute money from one high poverty school to another one. It is time to finally end the long string of excuses from Andrew Cuomo and step up to the plate to provide the full funding needed to ensure a quality education in high need school districts.”

“The real inequality in school funding is between school districts, not within them: New York State has the second largest gap in funding between wealthy and poor school districts. As a result of Governor Cuomo’s policies this gap has grown by 24 percent since he took office to nearly $10,000 per pupil.”