Senate & Assembly Protect Foundation Aid from Gov. Hochul’s Proposed Cuts and Alterations 1

Senate & Assembly Protect Foundation Aid from Gov. Hochul’s Proposed Cuts and Alterations

March 12, 2024 (ALBANY, N.Y.) — Following the release of the State Senate and Assembly’s proposed budgets, public education advocacy organization the Alliance for Quality Education released the following statement in response to the education proposals:

“We applaud the State Senate and Assembly for recognizing the importance of fully funding public schools at this moment, and rejecting Governor Hochul’s proposed cuts and harmful changes to the Foundation Aid formula. With student needs growing and the impacts of the pandemic still being felt in classrooms around the state, now is not the time to be pulling back on the state’s support for students,” said Marina Marcou-O’Malley, Co-Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.

“To ensure New York continues to move toward educational equity in the long term, we are pleased that both the Senate and Assembly included the $1 million requested by the State Education Department to cover the cost to fully update and revise the Foundation Aid formula.”

“However, the lack of funding in either proposal to fill the hole left by expiring federal pandemic relief will leave some schools with an immediate gap in funding critical personnel and programs, including mental health support staff, summer tutoring, and early education programs. The impact of the pandemic’s disruption on students is ongoing. While the districts with enough local resources have been able to catch up, students in some districts with fewer resources continue to struggle — many of them the same districts that the State chronically underfunded for years, and which educate a majority of Black and brown students. We are disappointed that neither the Senate or Assembly added such funding in their proposals,” said Marcou-O’Malley.

The intent of Foundation Aid, and a formula based on equity, is predictability and sustainability. This yearly dance over education funding that New York State’s governors have pushed the state legislature into over the years means that public schools are unable to plan ahead. Never able to count on state aid from one year to the next, districts are unable to make the most of funding increases, denied the opportunity to try new programs, grow or expand. This impacts everything from social emotional supports to programs like art and music, which are so often the first on the chopping block when cuts happen. We are constantly fighting for restoration of funding, and we should be fighting to transform. Governor Hochul has the power and responsibility to end this ongoing cycle of unpredictability, so we can have a better and more equitable public education system for all,” said Zakiyah Shaakir-Ansari, Co-Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.

“New York is a state of great resources and wealth, and we commend both the Senate and Assembly proposals for including options that would raise revenue from the ultra wealthy and corporations. We call on the Senate, under the leadership of Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and the Assembly, under the leadership of Speaker Carl Heastie, to fight for these proposals to remain in the enacted budget, and hold the line on protecting Foundation Aid from the Governor’s harmful cuts.”