Dear Commons Community,
My colleague, David Bloomfield, had an op-ed yesterday in the Gotham Gazette entitled, The Latest Education Budget Fiasco Shows We Must Scrap New York’s School Funding Formula. He reviews the current fiscal crisis that New York City public education finds itself as we head into the new school year. Here is an excerpt:
“The Trojan Horse called “Fair Student Funding” that allocates $10 billion of city funds to our 1,700 public schools needs to be scrapped. The attractively alliterative system inadequately funds the real needs of schools and, according to an unreleased 2021 Fair Student Funding Task Force study, funnels “additional resources to high schools with “higher achievers” who are disproportionately whiter and wealthier than the overall school population. It concludes “this is not an equitable funding system.”
Fair Student Funding is at the heart of the current school budget crisis, with the mayor mired in debate with an abulic City Council and a lawsuit that may allay his $215 million cut to city schools but fails to address the long-term problems of declining student enrollment and erosion of federal pandemic relief funding.
Fair Student Funding (FSF) was also central to temporary rejection of FSF-based school allocations by the Department of Education’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), a usually docile mayor-controlled body, when it mutinied over the system’s inadequacies and inequities. In a hasty compromise in exchange for the PEP’s approval, Schools Chancellor David Banks agreed to look into FSF’s weighting of student needs including, for example, providing additional funds for students in temporary housing and foster care.
But nibbling around the edges of how FSF arbitrarily weights student-based expenses does nothing to get at the root problem of what Banks himself calls “this mess.”
The entire piece is worth a read!