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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Wed, Feb 4, 2004

Costing-Out Report Calls for $7 Billion Statewide to Make Sound Basic Education a Reality for all Students in New York

Preliminary Findings of the "New York Adequacy Study"

Providing the opportunity for a sound basic education to every public school student in New York State will require an additional $7 billion (in current 2004-2005 dollars), according to the preliminary findings of the New York Adequacy Study, a state-of-the-art independent costing-out study released today. The study’s report also recommends universal pre-kindergarten, small class sizes, and additional resources for English Language Learners, special education students, and children growing up in poverty.

“Delivering the promise of a sound basic education has always been the key to securing our children’s future and now we know what it will cost,” stated Michael A. Rebell, CFE's Executive Director and Counsel. “This study determines the actual costs of meeting children’s educational needs as required by the court. We invite the governor and legislature to put aside partisan politics and take this opportunity to work with us to ensure that a sound basic education is actually made available to every student in the state.”

The New York Adequacy Study, undertaken by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and Management Analysis & Planning, Inc. (MAP), found that 517 districts do not currently have sufficient resources to ensure every student has the opportunity for a sound basic education. Specifically, New York City public schools require an additional $3.62 billion, an added $370 million for the “Big 4” districts, $480 million for high needs rural districts, and an added $500 million in the state’s high needs urban and suburban districts. These figures provided by the study, expressed in 2001-2002 dollars, do not include spending for transportation or debt service on school facilities.

The 15-month costing-out study was a central requirement of the New York Court of Appeals June 2003 ruling that declared the state’s current educational funding system unconstitutional. Undertaken by the nation’s leading educational economists and school finance experts, the study was initiated by CFE, the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA), and 30 other statewide organizations.

In response to the report, Tim Kremer, Executive Director of NYSSBA, stated “This study verifies the huge gap between our aspirations for our young people and the resources we have put forward to achieve them.”

To correct the shortfall and meet the needs of students, Rebell called for the $7 billion statewide increase to be phased in over the next three to four years, and reiterated CFE’s call for a $2 billion “down-payment” in the state’s budget this year.

The Court of Appeals gave the state until July 30, 2004 to undertake a costing-out study and to implement reforms necessary to ensure that the educational resources are allocated in accordance with student need.

Since 1991, costing-out studies have been undertaken in 28 states, often in response to court orders, to answer the question of what resources and conditions schools need in order to enable their students to meet the state's student learning standards. The New York Adequacy Study involved extensive meetings with panels of education professionals consisting of outstanding teachers, principals, business managers, superintendents, and directors of special education. The stated task of the panels was to “design an instructional program that will provide all students in the school a full opportunity to meet the Regents Learning Standards, and to attain a Regents’ diploma.” The study’s directors also solicited and integrated feedback from stakeholders statewide, including school board members, parents, business leaders, policy makers, representatives from the State legislature, and representatives from the Governor’s staff and the Zarb Commission.

This preliminary report of the New York Adequacy Study research team is available on CFE’s website. A final, more extensive report will be released in March.

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 >