The Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) announced findings from a report detailing the funding gap faced by the Rochester City School District (RCSD), and other high needs districts, compared to the 100 wealthiest school districts in the state, Feb 17.
The report, written by AQE, shows RCSD students currently receive $7,804 less funding per pupil than their counterparts in the wealthiest 100 districts in New York state.
“The state budget must increase school funding by at least $2.4 billion, and must prioritize funding for our neediest students,” Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, stated.
According to AQE, districts across New York state are currently owed billions from the state, following a fiscal equity lawsuit the state settled in 2007, and a plateau in state aid which began in 2009, as well as education cuts the state made using a formula called the Gap Elimination Adjustment in 2010 and 2011.
“According to the New York State Education Department, the state of New York owes schools across the state $4.8 billion,” the report stated. “This includes $434 million in Gap Elimination Adjustment, and $4.4 billion in Foundation Aid. The Foundation Aid is owed due to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. In CFE, after 13 years of going through the courts, the court of appeals, the state’s highest court, agreed with the parents who sued the state, and found that the state was violating students’ constitutional right to ‘a sound basic education,’ and ordered the state to provide adequate funding.”
The report also said the education policy group The Education Trust has found New York state currently ranks number two in the nation in educational inequality.
In addition, although state aid has increased in recent years, AQE said funding has still not been restored to its prior levels.
“What appears to be lacking on behalf of the governor is the appetite to educate every child, including those living in poverty,” the report stated.
According to AQE, 28 percent of school districts in New York state currently receive less funding now than they did in 2008.
The group has currently called for a $2.9 billion increase in school aid in the 2016 state budget, including a three year phase in of the Foundation Aid.