AQE Report Shows Area Schools Owed $50 Million From NY State
A new report from the Alliance for Quality education shows school districts in the Mohawk Valley have been shortchanged by the state's Foundation Aid Formula by almost $50 million.
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi is calling for the state to fix the situation, which puts schools in his district in the top third that are owed the most foundation aid.
While the estimate for the 2016-2017 school year shows that the deficit improved by $5.5 million from the last fiscal year, the AQE report shows the state still owes $3.9 billion in Foundation Aid to NY school districts.
Brindisi Outlined reasons the State’s flawed Foundation Aid formula must be fixed in a letter to the State Education Commissioner and the Chancellor of the Board of Regents.
He pointed out that while Utica is the fifth poorest school district in New York, 215 districts are getting hundred or thousands of dollars more per student than Utica from state taxpayers.
“While the amount of Foundation Aid owed to schools in my Assembly District shrank by $5.5 million over the past year, $50 million is still a huge deficit," Brindisi said. "One can think of how many teachers and classroom aides could be hired with this funding. I plan to continue working with the AQE and other groups to get the state to fully fund foundation aid by the $3.9 billion currently owed to districts through my continued sponsorship of the Small Cities Successful Schools Act. While the Assembly has supported this plan, it is time for the Senate and Executive Branch to get on board."
Here is an excerpt from the letter Brindisi sent to the State Education Commissioner and the Chancellor of the Board of Regents:
"I recognize if the formula were followed exclusively, the gap between wealthy and poorer schools would be narrowed; however, we must work collectively to limit those categories of aid state lawmakers use to skirt the funding formula to help their districts.
Now that the Gap Elimination Adjustment has very rightfully been eliminated from the state budget, I strongly believe it is time to do the right thing and fix the Foundation Aid Formula. I certainly will do everything I can in the coming year to encourage implementation of a fair distribution method for our state’s highest need school children and I look forward to working with you both in making this a priority for next year’s state budget negotiations."