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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Foundation Formula

The bedrock of the State Education Budget and Reform Act was the creation of a single formula to distribute the foundation aid to schools prioritizing high need students and using weightings for poverty, English Language Learners (ELL) and special needs while at the same time guaranteeing an increase for every district. This streamlined formula replaced over 30 different program formulas and was designed to take decades of politics out of how New York State funds public schools. This formula is transparent and predictable, allowing school districts to calculate each installment of the four-year legislated funding commitment.

2008-09 Projected District-by-District School Aid Runs for Foundation Aid

Foundation Aid Projection Chart 2008-2011

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) works to ensure full utilization of the formula while securing dollar amounts and timeframe. The objective is to drive more money to school districts that need it the most and make use of all foundation aid subject to a Contract for Excellence, the Education Act's accountability tool.

The foundation aid formula has two basic parts: 1) student need; and 2) local district ability to pay. In calculating a local district's ability to pay, the state looks at income levels and at property values.

CFE research showed that the formula proved to be overly sensitive to various year-to-year fluctuations in property values and student enrollment, among other anomalies. As a result, some districts from every part of the state are likely to see disproportionately large reductions in their foundation aid in 2008-08 unless the formula is adjusted. The simple, non-politicized formula is intended to be stable and realiable, and should not be subject to erratic annual economic changes.

Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE Litigation 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 >