Don't Lie: The current crisis of New York State school district
SSFC report explores how long-term, politically-driven state
aid distribution has pushed schools to the brink of disaster
27, 2012 -
Statewide School Finance Consortium (SSFC), a coalition
representing more than 400 of New York State's public school
systems, released a new report today that explores both the
long-standing disparities in state education aid funding and the
effects of recent Albany decision making on the sustainability
of public education.
The report provides a deep and data-driven examination of state
financial support of public school funding over the past six
years, from the creation of the Foundation Aid formula
spearheaded by the Spitzer Administration in 2007.
Critical observations of the controversial "Bullet Aid" program
and the lack of meaningful mandate reform in the state are also
The report also offers an analysis of the current dilemma faced
by school districts, drawn from actual school district reports
about fund balances, budget changes and tax levies. The impact
of the Tax Cap Law on school districts and communities is also
to Dr. Richard Timbs, Executive Director of SSFC, the Foundation
Aid formula was originally acclaimed as the state's answer to
the constitutional responsibility to provide a meaningful and
sound, basic education" for all students. However, it has been
repeatedly demonstrated to be "inequitable, unfair, unreliable
and fiscally unsustainable from its inception.
"Unfair state aid distribution is not a geographic issue that
pits Upstate vs. Downstate. Over three dozen Downstate school
districts, many on Long Island, share similar wealth and poverty
factors as those Upstate," Dr. Timbs said. "The inequities in
the distribution of the Foundation Aid formula and the massive
state aid cuts over the past several years were an intentional,
politically-motivated redirection of money to wealthier school
districts at the expense of the less wealthy."
According to the SSFC report, without changes in the education
aid formula, a significant number of school districts will not
have the cash reserves to sustain themselves over the next two
years as they face state-created mandates, contractual
obligations, and health insurance and pension costs. "Simply
put, in many locales residents will not be able to fund their
"As schools and communities with higher levels of poverty and
low fiscal capacity continue to get less help from our leaders
in Albany, the opportunities for their children also diminish.
Our hope is that this study will provoke serious discussion and
- more importantly - lead to quick and definitive action. The
future of New York, in many ways, depends on this," said Dr.
TO READ THE FULL REPORT,
CLICK HERE. (PDF)