Report: New York State Uses Foundation Aid In Name Only, and Black & Latinx Student Pay the Price

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 16, 2019) — A report released Wednesday morning delineates the consequences of New York State’s failure to use its own school funding formula, the Foundation Aid formula, since 2009. The report by the Alliance for Quality Education seeks to bring clarity to the conversation around school funding, as the New York State Senate launches a series of roundtables and public hearings on the State’s Foundation Aid formula for public schools. 

The first roundtable will be held on Wednesday in Yonkers, with the aim of assessing “how Foundation Aid meets student, district and community needs with the goal of achieving greater equity in school financing.”

The report, titled Foundation Aid in Name Only, calls attention to the fact that New York State has not actually used the Foundation Aid formula in over a decade. Read the full report here.

Instead, the state uses temporary formulas to distribute inadequate amounts of funding. According to the State Education Department (SED), New York State currently has yet to deliver $4 billion in Foundation Aid.

The report lays out the consequences of not using the formula for students and communities, particularly in school districts serving Black and Latinx students. It compares the current unmet needs to the progress that school districts were able to make from 2007-2009, the only two years that the State used the formula to calculate school aid. 

“The State’s unwillingness to use the Foundation Aid formula to provide the funding necessary has led to educational racism,” the report states. “…The results of failing to use the Foundation Aid formula paint a very different picture from the progress that was being made when the state was using the Foundation Aid formula in 2007 and 2008. Schools that educate large numbers of Black, Brown and low income students have had to make difficult choices on what they can and cannot offer to their students.”

The report makes recommendations to the Legislature on how to use the Foundation Aid formula to achieve equity in New York schools, among which the top priority must be fully funding and implementing the actual Foundation Aid formula. Read the full report here.

Wednesday’s Senate event in Yonkers was the first in a series of roundtables and public hearings of five in coming weeks, organized by Senators Shelley Mayer and Brian Benjamin to assess “on how Foundation Aid meets student, district and community needs with the goal of achieving greater equity in school financing.”

Read the full report here.