Based on estimates for educational expenses in the coming year and growing student needs, New York’s major statewide education organizations — including NYSUT — released a report Thursday detailing the need for a $2.1 billion state aid increase for 2020–21.
The recommendation by the State Educational Conference Board contains two primary components:
- $1.6 billion to continue current educational services based on cost estimates for the year ahead; and
- $500 million for five critical areas: school safety and mental health services, receivership schools, the cost of services such as special education and English as a New Language, college and career pathways and professional development.
“Schools are focused on meeting the needs of all students while advancing programs and learning opportunities that will prepare them for a changing world,” said ECB Chair John Yagielski. “The state is a critical partner.”
ECB recommends that $1.5 billion of the increase be put toward Foundation Aid, with no set-asides. As all schools face growing costs, ECB recommends that each district receive a minimum Foundation Aid increase that at least matches the inflation rate.
The ECB report points out the state is $3.4 billion behind what is due to schools in the current year, 2019–20, under the Foundation Aid formula. The recommended boost in Foundation Aid for 2020–21 would put the state on a trajectory to fully fund the formula in three years.
“The Foundation Aid formula is intended to account directly for student needs,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta, “but it must be fully funded if it’s going to meet the need. It hasn’t been.”
In addition to NYSUT, the Educational Conference Board comprises the Conference of Big 5 School Districts; the state Council of School Superintendents; the state PTA; the state School Boards Association; and the School Administrators Association of New York State.