Assembly & Senate Agree Fully Funding Foundation Aid a Top Priority

New York Students Finally Have Path to Equity & Opportunity

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 12, 2019) — The New York State Assembly and Senate both released one house budget proposals for 2019-20 that include a $1.6 billion increase in total school aid and $1.2 billion in Foundation Aid. In response, education advocacy organization the Alliance for Quality Education released the following statement:

“The new political landscape in New York means that for the first time, both houses of the legislature are united in fighting for full and fair education funding for our children. Black, Brown and low-income children have waited over a decade for New York State to fulfill the promise of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), fully fund Foundation Aid and to right the wrongs of centuries of educational racism and inequity. Together, Speaker Carl Heastie, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and their conferences have each proposed budgets that prove that education and investments in our children are a top priority for the legislature. As they begin final budget negotiations with Governor Cuomo, New York’s students are counting on them to lead the way to educational equity and fight to fully fund public schools in the enacted budget,” said Jasmine Gripper, legislative director, Alliance for Quality Education.

“The Senate and Assembly budget plans unequivocally reject the Governor’s so-called ‘equity plan,’ which blamed local school districts for the funding inequities that the Governor has perpetuated by refusing to fully fund public schools. The Senate and Assembly proposals would put us on a path to reducing class sizes, having high quality curriculum and up to date learning material, and ensuring students receive the social, emotional and health supports they need to thrive.

“Speaker Carl Heastie and the New York State Assembly have maintained their long commitment to fully funding Foundation Aid and prioritizing the educational needs of children in New York. Speaker Heastie has long been the sole champion for education equity in many state budget negotiations. With the power shift in the State Senate, the two houses can at last stand together in their commitment to fully funding our schools.

“The New York State Senate Democrats are the education champions school children have been waiting for to provide a true partnership with the Assembly in pushing for educational opportunity and equity. Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins has always supported fair and adequate school funding, and many of the newly elected Senate Democrats ran for office because they were frustrated by the lack of equity in education funding. This year, we finally have a strong progressive State Senate that is ready to lead New York in the path of education equity.

“Senator Robert Jackson has led the charge in the long fight for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity over his lifetime of activism on behalf of all the children of New York. From his involvement as plaintiff in the 1993 lawsuit, to walking 150 miles from New York City to Albany, to the Senate floor, his long standing commitment to education equity in school funding has helped keep the promise of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity at the center of advocacy and funding solutions.

“The newly appointed Education Chairs, Senator Shelley Mayer and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, have also been consistent fierce advocates for public schools. Their wealth of knowledge and experiences in education have shaped them into champions for children and public schools. With their leadership in their respective committees we expect to see research-based best practices turned into law.  

“We finally have the leadership in both houses of the State legislature that is ready to address educational inequity with meaningful solutions and a commitment to providing necessary funding from the state. We look forward to working with the legislature to ensure that these education priorities stay constant as budget negotiations continue.”