The landmark State Supreme Court decision issued on January 10, 2001 could have anenormous positive impact on the quality of education for children across New York State. In hisdecision in
Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York
, Judge Leland DeGrasse affirmedthe constitutional right of every child in New York State to receive a sound basic education, andordered the New York State Legislature to establish a new state education funding formula bySeptember 2001. The new formula must provide enough resources to every school to give everychild in New York State a sound basic education.
The Public Policy and Education Fund isreleasing this report to illustrate the beneficial impact the court decision could have onschool children in the Southern Tier.
This is the first in a series of reports PPEF will releaseon the impact of the CFE decision on schools throughout the state.
This report uses the school aid formula proposed by the Midstate School FinanceConsortium as an example of what the legislature could do to implement the CFE court decision.The Midstate School Finance Consortium is comprised of more than 200 school districts in 27upstate New York counties. Midstate has developed an approach to revising the funding formulathat closely addresses the requirements of the lawsuit and the judge’s decision. The Midstateproposal allows us to analyze how implementation of the court decision might effect schoolfunding
Under Midstate’s formula, 84% of Southern Tier schooldistricts would receive more state school aid
.The Public Policy and Education Fund (PPEF) is a member of the Alliance for QualityEducation ("AQE"), a new coalition of over one hundred organizations dedicated to a qualityeducation for children, with collectively hundreds of thousands of members throughout the state.PPEF is not endorsing the Midstate formula, or any specific formula. Until the Legislaturecompletes the “costing out” of a sound basic education as required by the Judge’s decision, wewill not know what level of per pupil spending is necessary. Once the cost of a sound basiceducation is established, PPEF and AQE are open to considering a variety of approaches tocreating a new formula. Meanwhile, PPEF views the Midstate proposal as a step in the rightdirection, and an excellent example of the type of formula that would meet the requirements of the court decision. The proposal is used in this report to illustrate that a formula that addressesthe court decision will have to provide increased state aid to most districts across the state, not just New York City.
Background: The Campaign for Fiscal Equity Court Decision
[T]he present funding system does not deliver resources adequate to meet students' needsbecause it is not set up to do this; the system has no mechanism at all to assess need. Despite being a complex collection of nearly 50 disparate formula and grants purportingto relate to spending, the system no longer distributes education aid on any rationalbasis. Instead, it serves primarily to support a long-standing political deal that each year allocates to New York City and other parts of the state a set percentage of any increase instate education aid, no matter the actual needs or cost of educating students.
Campaignfor Fiscal Equity Statement
Special Report: The Trial Court's Decision, Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. (January 2001) (available on CFE'swebpage, cited in footnote 2).
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