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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Tue, Mar 30, 2004

Majority of School Districts in NY State Don't Have the Resources They Need to Provide Students with the Opportunity to Meet Regents' Learning Standards

NY Adequacy Study released today says NY State will require an increased investment of $6.6 billion to $9.1 billion, to provide Sound Basic Education

Ensuring students have an opportunity to achieve a Regents-level education in New York State will require an increased investment of $6.6 billion to $9.1 billion, according to the final report of the New York Adequacy Study released today. The independent and privately-funded “costing-out” study, undertaken by leading educational economists and school finance experts at the American Institutes of Research (AIR) and Management Analysis & Planning, Inc. (MAP), is the only one of its kind to be undertaken in the State of New York.

“In this study, some of the state’s most experienced and successful educators identified the key ingredients students need to meet the Regents’ Learning Standards,” stated Michael A. Rebell, CFE's Executive Director and Counsel. “Now that we know the recipe for an adequate education, it’s time to provide it to every New York public school student.”

Nearly 60 principals, superintendents, school business officials, and special education directors from communities across the state participated in the study. With an average of nearly 30 years of experience, these educators specified precise conditions such as class sizes, teacher-pupil ratios, and levels of extended day/extended year programming to ensure every student has a full chance to meet the Regents’ standards. The study also solicited and integrated the input of hundreds of other “stakeholders,” including school board members, parents, business leaders, policy makers, representatives from the state legislature, and representatives from the governor’s staff.

“This study embodies a commitment of communities across the state to ensure that all students - regardless of the color of their skin or the wealth of their community - have a fair chance to succeed in school,” stated David Ernst, Director of Communications and Research for the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).

“The numbers proposed by the Zarb Commission are based on bizarre abstractions and would continue to underfund our neediest schools,” stated Rebell. “The New York Adequacy Study, which is grounded in the solid recommendations of highly-qualified professionals, outlines the full resources that our kids need to succeed. Since the New York Adequacy Study includes hundreds of pages of detailed data and analysis it also ensures that our elected officials can develop solid legislation for funding education in a way that aligns with student need.” This was a central requirement of the Court of Appeals in the CFE decision, which gave the state until July 2004 to undertake major reforms to ensure that all students are afforded their right to a sound basic education.

According to the study, 520 of the state’s school districts are currently spending less than is necessary to provide their students with an opportunity to meet the Regents’ Learning Standards. To ensure every student has a chance to meet those standards would require a 39% increase in funding for New York City’s schools and an increased investment in many other high needs districts across the state, such as Albany (22.5%), Brentwood (40.5%), Buffalo (32.5%), Elmira (15%), Port Chester (26.7%), Rochester (39.9%), Salamanca (30%), and Syracuse (34.8%). None of these figures include funding for school facilities or student transportation.

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 >