Money matters; without adequate resources, schools cannot educate students. The availability of resources closely correlates with opportunities and outcomes. We believe school aid distribution should be based on student and school district need. New York currently ranks 49th in the nation on equity in education spending.
The Campaign for Fiscal Equity
The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) was created by parents who filed a lawsuit against the State of New York, claiming that children were not being provided the opportunity to an adequate education. In 2006, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled in CFE’s favor, and found that New York State is violating students constitutional right to a “sound and basic education” by leaving schools without the funding necessary. As a result of the ruling, schools were ordered to receive $5.5 billion increase in basic operating aid (also known as Foundation Aid) statewide over the course of a four year phase-in from 2007 to 2011.
What is the Foundation Aid Formula?
This formula was created in response to the CFE ruling to distribute state aid based on student need. It accounts for the ability of the school district or city to raise money from local property taxes and was intended to close the spending gap between districts and create an equitable education system for all students. You can learn more about how the formula works here.
Looking Toward the Future
In 2021, New York State at last committed to a three-year phase-in of the Foundation Aid owed to schools. It fulfilled that phase-in commitment with the 2023-24 budget. Now, with public schools fully funded under the Foundation Aid formula, it is time for the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to take a critical look at how the formula can be improved to ensure it is delivering the resources necessary to provide an equitable and adequately funded public education to all New York students.
AQE and the Education Law Center of New Jersey released a joint report with recommendations on how to improve the Foundation Aid formula, to better reflect advancements in the field of school finance, changes in the state’s curricular standards, and evolving expectations of the programs and services needed to support students’ academic and social-emotional wellbeing.
Most content created by the Alliance for Quality Education based on analyses of state budgets.
Some timeline content sourced from “Education Finance Equity For New York City Schools: The Long Haul,” by John Casey and Apurva Mehrotra of the Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management in the School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, January 2011.