30-year education equity fight resolved in 2021 budget 1

30-year education equity fight resolved in 2021 budget

Foundation Aid funding will become permanent following three-year phase-in

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 6, 2021) — New York lawmakers, led by Majority Leader Andrea Stewart- Cousins and Speaker Carl Heastie, reached an agreement to equitably fund public schools in the 2021-22 New York State budget, which includes a phase-in plan to fully fund Foundation Aid over the next three years. In response, the public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality Education issued the following statement:

“The Alliance for Quality Education was founded 21 years ago for the purpose of securing adequate and equitable resources for New York’s low income Black and Brown communities. Today, the children of our state won a crucial victory as New York State made a historic commitment to fully fund Foundation Aid for our public schools. Generations of parents, community leaders and students across New York State, year after year, have led the advocacy to hold New York to the promise of a sound, basic education for every child. Parents, educators and students put their bodies and hearts into this difficult, but necessary fight. This victory shows the power of the people, the power of never giving up, the power of ‘we,’ and it belongs to all of us,” said Jasmine Gripper, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.

“We are so humbled by every one of the parents, community leaders, students, educators and elected officials who have stood alongside us through the years and never stopped pushing New York to finally do right by our students and fund the state’s own equitable school funding formula, Foundation Aid. The Alliance for Quality Education has worked with our coalition partners Citizen Action of New York, Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change and the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice to build a statewide force of parent power to lead and anchor this fight.  

“The fight to hold the State to its obligation to fund public education has always been deeply steeped in racial justice; the majority of Foundation Aid remaining is due to school districts with 40 percent or more Black and Latinx students. The full funding of Foundation Aid that will be provided to schools over the next three years represents a major step toward racial and economic equity in education.

“We give special thanks to Senator Robert Jackson, who has been part of the fight for school funding since the very beginning. He was a parent and lead plaintiff in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit nearly 30 years ago, and walked 150 miles from New York City to Albany — twice. He started out as a parent wanting the best for his children’s future, and brought the same dedication and passion to Albany where he continues to fight for every child in New York as if they were his own.

“We thank Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and acknowledge you for never wavering in your commitment to our students. You ensured that students and education remained top priorities in every budget negotiation, and seized this moment to make a monumental stand for New York’s children.

“The school aid in this year’s state budget has the potential to change the experiences and opportunities our children have in their public schools for years to come. This has been a long fight, far too long for the tens of thousands of students who were born, educated and grew into adults while waiting for the funding and resources that should never have been denied them. This was always about children and what they need.

“The goal of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit and funding the Foundation Aid formula was to give our schools a shot in the arm: an infusion of resources to raise the state’s funding up to the minimum level required for every child to get a ‘sound, basic education.’ Now, we can turn ahead and begin the work to carry educational justice forward.”