New York State is $5.9 billion behind on providing constitutionally required funding for its public schools. A new report from the Alliance for Quality Education lays out the stunning gap between what New York schools need and what they're actually getting. And unfortunately, it's the schools most in need of assistance that are being neglected.
In 2006, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity won a landmark lawsuit against New York for the state's failure to provide a "sound basic education" as required by the state constitution. In response, the Education Budget and Reform Act of 2007 established new funding under a Foundation Aid formula. But in seven years since, the state has fallen behind on providing full amount of funding mandated under the formula.
Especially in the past few years, districts across the state have been forced to cut things like art classes, advanced courses, English as a second language instruction and pre-k. To stretch their budgets, districts have put off buying new textbooks and instructional materials or combined multiple grades in a single classroom. Sixty-one percent of districts saw class sizes increase:
In today's world of high stakes testing and punitive accountability systems, it makes no sense that students, teachers and schools should be held to ever-higher standards when the state is failing to provide them with the resources they need to reach those standards. For the latest in the fight for fair school funding in New York, check out the Alliance for Quality Education, and view their full report here.