Advocates have won an increase of $805 million for New York K-12 education for the 2012-13 school year, and most of the $250 million proposed for competitive grants will, instead, go to fund instruction and other basic programs. High poverty school districts will receive priority for the increased funding. Parents and other education supporters also succeeded in pressing the Legislature to (1) reject proposed cuts to programs for children with special needs and (2) change state policy to avoid cuts to Pre-K.
"We hope these steps mark the start of a renewal of the State's commitment to implement the CFE remedy," said David Sciarra, Education Law Center Executive Director. "We are especially pleased that the Legislature rejected the proposal to have districts compete for limited funds. We have already begun to lay the groundwork for a more substantial increase in CFE funding in next year's budget in order to advance the opportunity for all New York school children to a sound basic education."
After a landmark ruling from New York's highest court in 2006, in Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) v. State, the legislature enacted a new state school funding system in 2007 and promised to phase in better funding in four years. After the first two years of progress, however, the State froze Foundation Aid for a year and then cut a total of $2.7 billion in the 2010 and 2011 budgets.
For the first time since 2008, the Executive Budget for 2012-13 proposed an
increase in state school funding. But, $250 million of the increase was intended
for competitive grants. Along with other advocates, ELC
urged the Legislature to shift these funds to Foundation Aid in the 2012-13
budget, and the Legislature did so.
At this time, the State has met its annual April 1 budget deadline. And, the
backdrop for consideration of the FY14 (2013-14) budget is a substantial
statewide deficit in the 2007 commitment to provide sufficient funding to satisfy
the State's constitutional obligations, as established in the CFE rulings.