ALBANY, N.Y. (March 22, 2021) — For the first time in years, both the Senate and Assembly one-house budget proposals include a full phase-in of Foundation Aid funding that the State owes to its public schools, in addition to $7 billion in new revenue streams. After decades of neglect, these one-house resolutions create a real opportunity to win big for public school students in the budget.
Twenty State Legislators joined the press conference today to speak out and demand full funding for public schools and to fight for no less than $7 billion in new revenue in the enacted budget to meet the urgent needs of our communities — not one penny less than what’s in the one-house education budget. Watch the full video of the press conference here.
Senator Robert Jackson said, “Our one-house budget resolutions are significant because they both include fully funding Foundation Aid, finally. But the revenue proposals are not enough; they must be the floor, not the ceiling. What’s currently proposed will not sustain us in the upcoming years once federal funds dry up. In this critical moment for our state’s children, band-aid solutions will not suffice. We need true, progressive investments in education. To make this possible, we must #HoldTheLine in budget negotiations and not accept a penny less than the full funding of Foundation Aid! We must get our priorities straight and tax the rich to raise the revenues we need to support the spending in our one-house budgets. It is time to stop protecting billionaires and start protecting our students.”
“Children in schools have suffered through a year of trauma, isolation, and difficulty with learning and some have not even had the broadband to effectively engage in virtual education. The burden on families in New York has been further compounded by years of austerity budgets that have robbed our children of critical funding. This is wrong. Our educators and students deserve all the resources they need. So we call on the Governor to stop cutting funding and that he includes taxes on the wealthiest in our state so that we can invest in a better and stronger New York. This is not charity, it is a debt owed and it’s time to refund the people” said Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas.
“The commitment from the State and Assembly one-house budget to fully fund our public schools is a huge win for our public school kids and families. We must ensure the funding owed to our schools remains in the final budget so all our students have the resources necessary to support them and aid their academic growth,” said Senator Jessica Ramos.
“The parents, teachers, and students of our communities have been fighting too long for the fair funding of public schools. While the Assembly and Senate one-house budgets represent a big step towards fulfilling our state’s long-standing constitutional obligations, we must not forget how long and hard this fight has been. We must make sure that the final Enacted budget contains all that is owed to our communities, and not $1 less. I am grateful to AQE and my colleagues in this fight for being vocal champions for our children and continuing to put our future first,” said Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes.
“The historic investments in K-12 education proposed by the legislature’s one-house budgets—and the new taxes on the wealthiest to help pay for it—didn’t just happen overnight. It was the result of tireless organizing by parents, teachers, community organizations, unions, and advocates. Now we need to say loud and clear: not a penny less. We must finally end the era of austerity and invest in our children’s future,” said Assemblymember Emily Gallagher.
“Education cannot be an afterthought. We need to ensure that even if we don’t get one more penny, education is the first thing that gets funded — not the place we look for cuts when the budget is tight. We are in a moment when we get to decide what is the New York that we are going to live in.” said Assemblymember Amanda Septimo. “This is our opportunity to meet our obligation to our children and deliver on the future we’ve promised, and that starts with fully funding schools.”
“I will always stand in solidarity with New York’s public school children, families, and educators who have been short-changed year after year in the state budget. I applaud advocacy groups like the AQE who fight for progressive budgets that prioritize and invest in the New Yorkers who need this support the most. The one house budgets may not go as far as some of us would like, but the inclusion of Foundation Aid and specific parts of the IONY package in both one house budget proposals shows that equitable funding of our schools is a priority for the legislature. It is absolutely necessary, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in severe disruption of our public education system, for us to continue to be relentless in our fight for public education, so that we can ensure that our schools have enough resources to support our young people,” said Senator Julia Salazar.
“As a parent and former AQE organizer, I am committed to the fight for ensuring a quality education for all our children. Many of the educational shortfalls we experience today stem from decades of underfunding our public school system. I know that AQE continues to advocate for the resources necessary to give our children a quality education. The growing inequalities in our system, exacerbated by the pandemic, has shown the need for greater investment in our public school education system. The Assembly-One House budget proposal is a floor and we will not accept #NotAPennyLess,” said Assemblymember Demond Meeks
“Budgets are a reflection of our values. Education funding is critically important and we know districts across New York State are not receiving their fair share of aid,” said Assemblywoman Sarah Clark. “This year the Assembly One House budget has increased Foundation Aid by $1.4 billion and fully phases in Foundation Aid over three years. This is a great first step, we must protect these vital resources in the final budget. And I will continue to advocate for FULL Foundation Aid funding as quickly as possible. We owe it to our children to invest in their future.”
“Public schools are the backbone of our communities, and they have endured enormous challenges during COVID-19. The final New York State budget must provide our schools with the long-term and equitable resources they desperately need, including fully phasing in Foundation Aid and providing free broadband access to every student across the state. The Senate one-house budget proposal will generate significant revenue to sustainably fund education, and the final New York State budget cannot commit to anything less. It is imperative that we ask the wealthiest New Yorkers to contribute to help our schools and communities recover,” said Senator Alessandra Biaggi.
“In the 27th Senate District that I represent, public schools are still owed almost $25 million in Foundation Aid under the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. Thanks to the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Senate one house budget proposal includes a three-year phase in of Foundation Aid, ensuring that all districts will receive their full aid by the 2023-24 school year. It is vital that the final enacted budget raise the necessary revenue to follow through on this commitment to our public schools. I’m proud to stand with the Alliance for Quality Education, Senator Robert Jackson, Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas and other legislators in fighting for more revenue to ensure the future of our State’s public education system,” said Senator Brad Hoylman.
“Our schools have been deeply impacted by COVID and our one-house budget proposals take an important first step in addressing that. Yet our students deserve more than a return to the pre-pandemic days of education, and so we must consider these proposals to be the floor of possibility, not the ceiling. Our childrens’ right to education requires continued and expanded investment long after the infusion of federal dollars is gone, and that requires decisive action by the state to raise additional revenue and prioritize our students,” said Assembly Member Mamdani.
“The students of New York have waited over a decade for the promise from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity funding. For decades our schools in low income Black and Latinx communities have been underfunded, leaving our most vulnerable students without the support and opportunities needed to succeed. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the severity of the inequity in New York’s schools. With a supermajority in both the Senate and Assembly and remarkably similar one house budgets that commit to fully funding Foundation Aid, New York can finally fulfil the promise of CFE. We need our state leaders to ensure that every dollar for education in the one house budgets, will remain in the final enacted budget. Our children cannot wait, said Jasmine Gripper, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education.
“In 2006, the NY Court of Appeals reaffirmed its ruling on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case, 13 years after the suit was filed. Eliot Spitzer became Governor that year and the foundation aid formula was established, but it has never been fully paid,” said Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon. “Our children have been waiting decades for the resources to bring equity to public education. At best, NY is a day late and a dollar short already, we cannot settle for a penny less. Our kids can’t wait any longer.”
“We must commit to long term funding of our schools. As we recover from the pandemic, it is critical that we create an academic and social-emotional setting where our students can thrive,” said Senator Jeremy Cooney. “This funding helps ensure that schools across the state have access to resources needed to compete in today’s competitive academic and professional environment.”