Reject the Proposed Repeal of the Foundation Aid Formula


NYS education groups call upon the legislature to reject the executive budget’s proposal

The New York State Educational Conference Board – comprised of New York’s leading educational organizations representing parents, classroom teachers, school-related professionals, school business officials, building administrators, superintendents and school boards – calls upon the legislature to reject the Executive Budget’s proposal to repeal the long-standing Foundation Aid formula.

The Foundation Aid formula was enacted in 2007, following the resolution of the notable Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) lawsuit. The formula represented a significant policy success and an important reform of the state’s education funding system. Foundation Aid incorporates the cost of educating a student, the needs of students within each district, variations in regional costs and the district’s local ability to support the cost of educating its students. The formula also served as a way for districts to understand and plan for the level of state support that they should expect to receive in a given year. This level of funding is rooted in the ability of districts to provide their students with a sound basic education, as guaranteed by the state Constitution.

As part of our 2017-18 School Aid proposal, ECB called for a firm commitment to fully-fund the Foundation Aid formula within three years. Efforts to restore the cuts made to school aid under the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) diverted the state from its focus on a functioning Foundation Aid formula and instead resulted in single-year aid distribution methods with little to no connection to previous or future years. The State Education Department has estimated the state to now be $4.3 billion behind full phase-in of Foundation Aid as we enter budget negotiations for 2017-18. The elimination of the GEA allows the state to return its attention to the Foundation Aid formula in order to provide adequate and equitable funding for our schools.

Instead, the Executive Budget has proposed to repeal the Foundation Aid formula and leave schools without any plan for additional financial support beyond 2017-18. Not only would this proposal turn back the clock on the notable improvements made in 2007, but it would also return the state to an unpredictable and undependable school funding system subject to unnecessary annual manipulation. The concept of Foundation Aid provides school districts and their communities with a level of transparency that fosters productive discussions about achieving school success. This enhances participation in the educational process and leads to higher levels of accountability.

The ECB urges the legislature to reject the Executive Budget’s proposed repeal of the Foundation Aid formula and instead commit to its full phase-in within three years.

For more information, please contact ECB Chair John Yagielski, The New York State Educational Conference Board is comprised of the Conference of Big 5 School Districts; New York State Council of School Superintendents; New York State PTA; New York State School Boards Association; New York State United Teachers; and the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS).