New York City Schools to Receive $600 Million Boost for Equitable Funding Next Year
By Lee Hawkins
New York City schools will see their budgets boosted this fall,
as every school will for the first time receive all of the money
they are owed under the city's Fair Student Funding Formula, city
officials said Monday.
About $600 million will go to 1,164 of the city's 1,800 schools
that had for years received less than 100% of their budget.
Principals can use the funds at their discretion for budgetary
items such as hiring more teachers and guidance counselors or
bolstering special education and bilingual services.
The new funding will come primarily from a pending increase in
state aid for the 2021-22 year. Mayor Bill de Blasio said he
expects the aid to continue at the $600 million level "for the next
few years," supplying schools with the budgets they were promised
but many had not received in more than a decade.
"That will now be the standard for every single school, starting
with the school year that begins in September," he said. But going
forward, lawmakers will need "to create something that is
sustainable after the next few years."
The boost is meant to fulfill promises of funding equity for
schools that serve students who cost more to educate.
In 2007, after a legal challenge from the advocacy group
Campaign for Equity, the New York legislature passed a complex
funding formula that allocates aid to districts on a per-pupil
basis, taking into account their numbers of students requiring
added services, such as English-language learners and children with
disabilities, among others. But state budget shortfalls have kept
many of the city's public schools from getting 100% of the money
budgeted under the Fair Student Funding formula. The city formula
distributes aid to each school on a per-pupil basis, with extra
funding going to schools with more low-income or special needs
This year, instead of cutting funding, the state plans to
increase school aid across the entire state by $1.4 billion and
said it would spend another $2.8 billion during the next two budget
cycles. This, legislators say, should fulfill the funding that was
promised in 2007.
The additional state aid will allow the city to provide each
school with their entire budget.
"The Campaign for Fiscal Equity case was decided in favor of the
students and families in New York City, and yet those students and
families never got their fair share of the funding," Mr. de Blasio
said, adding that the New York's State Legislature has now "locked
in the commitment."
Candace Hugee, principal at Urban Assembly for Collaborative
Healthcare in Brooklyn, called the announcement a "game changer,"
since her school received about 91% of its funding last year.
"It's been a long time coming. I don't think it's any secret
that for years that schools have been funded inequitably," she
said. "You may have a school with a population of 300 kids, but you
may only be funded for 275, while a school in the same building
might be funded for all their kids."
She said she is still calculating the total impact on her
school, but expects it to amount to "tens of thousands of dollars,"
which will make a difference next fall. She expects to apply funds
to address learning loss at the school, which will include tutoring
services and paying teachers extra to work with students after
New York City Councilman Mark Treyger, a Brooklyn Democrat and
former teacher, recalled his feeling as a teacher that "decisions
were made based upon the realities of a budget rather than the
needs of our kids."
One school in his district, Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney
Island, will see an increase in funding by 10%, he said.
Write to Lee Hawkins at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 19, 2021 18:51 ET (22:51 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.