What is the Contract for Excellence?
The Contract for Excellence (Contract) is the fundamental accountability mechanism under the State Education Budget and Reform Act of 2007. The Contracts are annual plans that low performing school districts receiving increased funding must submit indicating how the new funding will be spent and what it will accomplish. The Contracts must target new foundation aid to a menu of proven education strategies:
In addition, up to 15% of the new foundation funds can be used for research-based experimental programs.
The law requires public participation in formulating district Contracts, including public hearings and a parent grievance process. Programs must predominately serve students with the greatest educational needs, including students from poor households, English Language Learners (ELL) and special education students. Contracts must provide school-by-school reporting on the use of funds.
For the 2007-08 school year, a total 55 school districts statewide - including New York City - were required to develop and file Contracts. For the 2008-09 school year, 38 districts were required to submit Contracts and for 2009-10, there were 32 districts in the program.
In New York City, each of the 32 Community School Districts must also develop a Contract for Excellence as part of the citywide Contract and each Community School District Contract is subject to full public review by the Community District Education Council.
Many provisions of the Contract directly resulted from community-based advocacy supported by CFE and our partner for education reform, the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE). These provisions include the menu of strategies, the public participation provisions and the targeting of funding to the neediest students. These provisions provide important tools parents, students and communities can use to organize for high quality education in their local schools and districts.
New York City Class Size Reduction:
The Contract for Excellence legislation requires New York City to reduce average class sizes within five years to levels determined by the Commissioner. New York City must develop a class size reduction plan for three grade ranges: 1) Pre-K to third; 2) fourth to eighth; and 3) high school. This plan must prioritize low performing and overcrowded schools.
New York State Education Department - Contract for Excellence Program Page(link to NYSED - www.nysed.gov)
New York City Department of Education Contract for Excellence Program Page(link to NYCDOE -www.schools.nyc.gov)
Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the state’s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >