In late 2002, in an effort to expedite the process of reforming New York State's school funding system, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and the New York State School Boards Association partnered with 32 other organizations throughout the state to conduct a one-year costing out study to determine the actual amount of funding needed to provide an adequate education to all students throughout the state.

Costing Out: A New York Adequacy Study was led by an independent panel of national experts who have successfully undertaken large-scale costing-out studies in Wyoming, Maryland, Illinois and a number of other states. Heading the panel was Jay Chambers, President of The American Education Finance Association and Senior Research Fellow at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). AIR and Management Analysis & Planning, Inc., (MAP), the joint contractors for this study, also recruited other education finance experts from New York and throughout the country---including expert witnesses who testified for both the plaintiffs and the defendants at the CFE trial.

The study, published in March 2004, sought to determine the level of funding each district needs by first identifying the specific resources and conditions necessary for students to meet state standards and then systematically calculating the amounts needed to fund each of those prerequesites.

Nearly 60 superintendents, principals, teachers, school business officials, and special education directors from communities across the state participated extensively in the professional judgment panels that formed the core of the study. Their recommendations for greatly expanded pre-kindergarten programs, dramatically lowering elementary school class sizes, and extensive time on task and expanded services for secondary school students were then "costed out" by an independent team of national education economists.

The study determined that statewide an additional $6.7 to $9 billion, phased in over four years, would be needed to provide all students a true opportunity to meet the Regents Learning Standards. These figures are based on actual student needs, as determined by well-considered professional judgment, in contrast to the abstract statistical calculations used by Standard and Poor's for the Zarb Commission study.

The New York Adequacy Study

Governor's Commission on Education Reform