ALBANY, NY (December 19, 2018) — More than 70 parents and grandparents from across New York State who are advocates for educational opportunity and funding equity sent a letter to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today responding to his statement that the Foundation Aid owed to our schools and the Campaign for Fiscal Equity are “ghosts from the past and distractions from the present.” Read the full letter here.
The parents’ and grandparents’ letter details the contrast in educational opportunities for their children, with those in wealthy suburban schools around the state. It cites the fact that Governor Cuomo’s daughter attended a well-funded school district as an example of the wealth of of the kinds of programs and services that are possible when schools are well-funded, in stark contrast to the difficulties faced by students in low-income districts such as Brentwood, Utica, Peekskill, Buffalo, Albany, Yonkers and New York City.
“Let’s be crystal clear about which students’ educational needs you so easily dismiss,” the letter states. “While Foundation Aid is owed to high needs districts of all types from rural upstate to suburban high needs, 62 percent of this funding is owed to high need school districts with over 50 percent Black and Latino student populations. That is why your opposition to adequate funding for our schools perpetuates systemic educational racism.”
“The many excellent educational opportunities offered at Byram Hills are wonderful, but they are unavailable to our children at our local public schools. Byram Hills spends more than $33,000 per pupil each year which is much, much more than what our districts are able to spend,” it continues. “Not only are the opportunities significantly less in our schools, than the schools your children attended, the challenges are much greater… We can all agree it costs more to educate English Language learners and economically disadvantaged students, yet our children are receiving less. Under your leadership the spending gap between wealthy and poor school districts has grown to $10,000 per pupil.”
The mothers and grandmothers demanded that Governor Cuomo support a three-year phase-in of $4.1 billion in Foundation Aid, as recommended by the New York State Board of Regents. The $4.1 billion is owed under the 2007 Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement.
“End the educational disparities between the haves and the have nots. As you said Monday, every child, rich and poor, black and white, urban and rural, deserves the same quality education. But your refusal to fully fund Foundation Aid stands in the way of this happening.”