IN THE NEWS

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For real time updates on school finance issues, follow us on twitter and facebook or refer to the twitter feed on our homepage.

If you want to read up on recent developments in certain areas of importance, such as school funding, tax cap, or current lawsuits, you can find links below that bring you up to speed. * Indicates articles that SSFC was quoted in.

 

2017/18 State Budget

2017-18 State Budget passed

- School aid increase $1.1 Billion
- Foundation aid increase $700 Million

Review per-district school aid runs

“We’re grateful we have more money than what was in the governor’s proposal. That’s certainly a big plus. At the same time, is it enough? And is it being sent to the right places?”
- Dr. Rick Timbs, Executive Director SSFC

Media reactions:
CNY School budgets up for a vote following late state aid infusion, waer.org, May 15, 2017 *
CNYS Council of Superintendents reaction to enacted state budget, April 9, 2017
State aid to schools grow, but some call it status quo, The Buffalo News, April 8, 2017 *

Budget Extender until May 31
Due to the inability of lawmakers to reach a budget agreement before April 1, the 2016-17 budget is extended until May 31 in order to keep the government funded and operational.

Media reactions:
Major deal almost done; uncertainty a blow to poorer districts, Albany Times Union, April 7, 2017
Cuomo tries to broker budget deal with Senate out of town, New York Times, April 6, 2017
Lawmakers mull Cuomo’s latest proposal, stateofpolitics.com, April 6, 2017
Budget impasse could linger for weeks, Times Union, April 6,2017
Will 2017 Be the Year That New York’s Funding Lawsuits Finally Prevail? the74million.org, April 4, 2017 *
Statewide School Finance Consortium Executive Director Dr. Rick Timbs – On School Foundation Aid, wutqfm.com, April 3, 2017 *
Budget talks stall again, Cuomo calls for extender, Times Union, April 3, 2017

Advocacy
Urgent Call to Action: Governor urges lawmakers against additional spending for public schools!
Here is Our Take on the Senate and Assembly One-House Bills.
Find facts and ‘asks’ in this document that you can use for your own advocacy efforts.

We need you, our membership and stakeholders in the districts, to take action. Call, email, tweet, facebook – whatever you are most comfortable with, whatever tools you have at your disposal, use one of them or use them all. If you have a smart phone, you can easily reach your legislators with the few clicks. Find resources and sample letters below.

The three key issues that Albany must address:

1. Separate Community Schools funding from Foundation Aid
2. Increase 2017-18 Foundation Aid by $2 Billion
3. Phase in $4.3 Billion of outstanding Foundation Aid 

Feel free to use and manipulate these sample emails/letters to call on your legislators.
Refer to this advocacy toolkit for legislator contact information.
Download your district’s data from the CNYSBA legislative forums to support your messages.
Sample Email/Letter Assembly
Sample Email/Letter Senate
Here are some sample tweets/facebook messages that you can post or share our social media messages.
Sample Tweets/Facebook Messages

One-House Budget Proposals
Both houses of the legislature passed their one-house-bills, containing recommendations in response to the 2017-18 Executive Budget proposed by the Governor – see links to the actual documents below.

NYS Senate Budget Resolution – Response to the 2017-18 Executive Budget submission
NYS Assembly Budget Proposal – Recommended changes to the 2017-18 Executive Budget

The NYS Council of School Superintendents provided a side-by-side comparison of the Governor’s, Assembly’s and Senate’s budget positions: Where they stand – 2017-18 budget negotiations and public schools

Media reactions:
Senate releases budget plan, weighs in on school funding saga, Chalkbeat, March 14, 2017
Assembly budget rejects governor’s repeal of foundation aid, Chalkbeat, March 14, 2017

 

Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal
Governor Cuomo proposed a $1 billion increase in school aid, which includes short of $428 million or 2.6% in additional foundation aid (with $150 million set aside for community schools). The rest is made up of categorical aid and other special initiatives. This proposal clearly falls short of what the Board of Regents and other statewide education organizations have recommended is needed to maintain current services.

“The Governor’s proposed changes to the foundation aid formula come closer to equity, but not adequacy.”
~ Dr. Rick Timbs

Here are the school aid runs per district as of January 18, 2017.

Media reactions:
School equity falls short, The Post-Journal, March 19, 2017 *
Oswego County school leaders: Proposed school aid insufficient, Oswego County News Now, March 14, 2017 *
Editorial: Fully fund schools at last, Times Union, March 9, 2017
School business officials: 98% are within tax cap, Times Union, March 6, 2017
Backing CFE side, 92 lawmakers want $4.3B in foundation aid, TWCN, March 3, 2017
Education policy in Trump era, WAMC Radiolab, February 28, 2017
Former Gov. Spitzer underscores NY’s constitutional school funding obligation, Times Union, February 15, 2017
Elia: Budget plan shortchanges education, Times Union, February 14, 2017
New York State Economic and Fiscal Outlook FY 2018, Fiscal Policy Institute, February 7, 2017
Legislators meet with Cayuga education leaders to discuss aid to schools, The Citizen, January 29, 2017 *
The state’s failure on school funding, The Daily News, January 28, 2017
Students’ constitutional rights are obligatory, not ‘symbolic’ or ‘aspirational’, Michael Rebell/Campaign for Educational Equity, January 26, 2017
Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal disregards students’ constitutional rights, Michael Rebell/Campaign for Educational Equity, January 24, 2017
Dr. Rick Timbs’ Interview on Governor’s Budget, WIBX News, January 24, 2017 *
Gov. Cuomo’s school aid formula change worries educators, Watertown Daily News, January 22, 2017
Editorial: Hold firm on school aid, Times Union, January 22, 2017
Cuomo seeks unilateral power to make mid-year budget changes, Politico NY, January 20, 2017
School aid formula changes worry education leaders, lohud The Journal News, January 19, 2017 *
Dr. Rick Timbs on Capitol Pressroom discussing changes to foundation aid formula, WCNY, January 19, 2016
$1 billion hike in state aid to schools not enough, The Buffalo News, January 19, 2017 *
Cuomo proposal to undo aid formula sends ripples through ed world, The Daily Gazette, January 18, 2017
Is $1 billion school aid increase ‘not enough’?, Utica Observer Dispatch, January 19, 2017

 

Budget Proposals of Educational Entities
Below are the various budget proposals that were being discussed before the Governor released his budget proposal:

Comparison of NYSASBO, Regents and Educational Conference Board proposals.

NYS Board of Regents state aid proposal, December 12, 2016
Board of Regents seeks $2.1B school aid boost, Times Union, December 12, 2016
NY Education Departments: 7% school aid hike sought, Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin, December 12, 2016
Education officials present multi-million-dollar wish list, Chalkbeat, December 12, 2016

NYS Educational Conference Board school finance recommendations, December 1, 2016

NYSASBO state aid recommendations for 2017/18 school year, November 2016

The coming budget challenge, State of Politics, November 22, 2016

 

Foundation Aid Formula

SSFC and many other public school advocates have long called for an overhaul of the foundation aid formula in order to distribute state aid more fairly. In December 2016, the Citizen Budget Commission published the Policy Brief: A better foundation aid formula – Funding sound basic education with only modest added costs.

Editorial: State must tackle school equity gap, LOHUD.com, December 8, 2016
NYASBO recommendation for changes in the Foundation Aid Formula, NYASBO Task Force on Foundation Aid, October 3, 2016
State Ed opts to give lawmakers options, rather than taking strong stance on aid formula
, Politico New York, September 13, 2016
School-aid formula changes recommended, LOHUD.com, September 12, 2016 *
Education to push legislature to change school aid formula, Politico New York, September 12, 2016 *
Why NY’s foundation aid formula is flunking, LOHUD.com, August 25, 2016

 

New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights (NYSER) lawsuit against New York State

SSFC has joined a coalition of statewide education stakeholder organizations and 15 parents from throughout New York State in filing suit to enforce the state constitution’s guarantee that all children have an equal opportunity to receive a “sound, basic” public education.

“It is unfortunate another lawsuit is needed, but we are left with no choice. The fact of the matter is our state government has been unwilling or unable to honor its responsibility to students for years now.’’
~ Dr. Rick Timbs

Constitutional Convention

How can changes to the state constitution affect public education? New Yorkers have the opportunity to vote to amend the state constitution in November 2017. This may be a chance to change how we educate our children and how we pay for it. Learn more about it.

Another Constitutional Convention could happen in New York, Governing.org, January 17, 2017
Connect: NY – Pros and Cons of a Constitutional Convention on education, WCNY.com, September 19, 2016 *

 

2016-17 State Budget

 ”We’re getting closer to adequacy, but we’re not getting closer to equity.”
~ Dr. Rick Timbs

School Aid will increase by about $1.47B:

- $434M to end the GEA
- $627M increase in Foundation Aid
- $340M increase in Expense-Driven Aids

Our major goals have always focused on the adequacy, equity, predictability and sustainability of State Education Aid. We are appreciative of the substantial increase in Foundation Aid, which brings us closer a bit closer to adequacy. Equity, predictability and sustainability, however, are still elusive. Read our full budget response and find out what the GEA lines mean in the aid runs. Here are the School Aid runs for your district.

State aid for New York schools returns to pre-recession level, Buffalo News, April 1, 2016 *

State lawmakers reach budget deal with big wins for charters, community schools, Chalkbeat NY, April 1, 2016

NYS budget leaves children behind again, Education Law Center, April 1, 2016

Education aid to increase nearly $1.5B, lawmakers get rid of GEA, Times Union, March 31, 2016

 

Response to Governor’s 2016-17 Executive Budget Proposal

“Woefully insufficient”…”lacking”…”ignores the tremendous inequities between rich and poor schools”…”falls short-far short”…”anemic”

Did you ever wonder how the NYS Budget is developed?
Here is your answer in a nutshell: A Primer on NYS School Aid
(Citizen Budget Commission, January 2016)

How would your district fare under the currently proposed state budget?
Find out your numbers and how to advocate with your legislators: Community Forum Presentations

How much longer can school districts hang on with current funding levels?
Take a look at this recent study: 2015 Report on School District Finances and Program in New York State
(Mid-Hudson School Study Council, January 2016) – supported and endorsed by SSFC

Capital Pressroom Appearances

Rick’s interview June 13th on Capital Pressroom click here

Rick’s interview June 20th on Capital Pressroom click here

Additional Media Appearances

Tax Decrease in Central Valley dependent upon cap override, Utica Observer Dispatch, March 30, 2016 *

CNY School Districts Try to Make an “Educated Guess” About Aid Package in State Budget, WAER, March 16, 2016 *

Simplify state funding for schools, Comptroller’s Office urges, Albany Times Union, March 14, 2016 *

Time to rethink school aid, Albany Times Union Editorial Board, March 10, 2016

Strong districts can drive up demand, price, Utica Observer Dispatch, February 22, 2016 *

Connect NY: School funding in New York State, WCNY, February 8, 2016 *

Editorial: The real school aid issue, Times Union, February 3, 2016

School advocates call Cuomo schools plan well-intentioned but ill-designed, capitalnewyork.com, January 27, 2016

Budget group says: Target more school aid to needier districts, Post Star, January 22, 2016

Interview with Dr. Rick Timbs, The Capitol Pressroom/WCNY, January 21, 2016 *

Low Inflation + State’s Tax Cap = Uncertain Year for CNY School Budgets, WAER Syracuse, January 20, 2016

School districts prepared to fight for more state aid, The Buffalo News, January 19, 2016 *

Area districts turn to reps for help on school aid, Hornell Evening Tribune, January 19, 2016 *

School advocates find major fault with Cuomo’s proposed budget, Politico, January 15, 2016 *

9 area school districts would see aid drop under Cuomo plan, Times Union, January 15, 2016*

CNYSBA First reaction: State Budget Proposal Inadequate to meet public school needs, January 15, 2016

Interview with Dr. Rick Timbs, Keeler in the Morning/WIBX950am Utica, January 14, 2016 *

School districts get proposed increases, but claim more is owed, Utica Observer Dispatch, January 14, 2016 *

What they’re saying about Cuomo’s 2016 budget plan, The Citizen, January 14, 2016 *

Cuomo antes up on schools as budget dance begins, The Buffalo News, January 14, 2016 *

Cayuga County-area schools get more state aid in Cuomo’s proposed budget, The Citizen, January 14, 2016 *

Cuomo’s modest education agenda, Politico, January 13, 2016 *

Cuomo’s $2.1 billion education proposal: highlights and reactions, Syracuse Post Standard, January 13, 2016 *

SSFC First reaction: Executive Budget Proposal falls far short, January 13, 2016

 

Op-Ed ahead of Governor’s combined State of the State Address/Executive Budget Proposal

“It is an accepted principle that a cornerstone of any focused, well-developed and on-time fiscal budget depends upon viable revenue and expense projections early in the budget process.  Public school districts are no exception, and they depend for a large part of this information on someone else. Last year, that someone withheld revenue projections on purpose…”

Another Voice: Governor should release details on proposed school aid, The Buffalo News, January 12, 2016 *

Withholding state aid data not ‘best practice’, Livingston County News, January 12, 2016 *

Governor Cuomo Shouldn’t Withhold Funds from Schools (Op Ed), WIBX950am, January 12, 2016 *

Withholding State Aid Information from our Public Schools is not a Policy ‘Best Practice’, Madison County Courier, Jan 12, 2016 *

School funding advocate to Gov. Cuomo: Release state aid runs in January, syracuse.com, January 11, 2016 * (pdf)

Pauline Liu: Brace yourself for chaos in school funding season, Times Herald Record, January 10, 2016 * (pdf)

Educators, parents await Cuomo’s speech on Wednesday, Times Herald Record, January 10, 2016

School leaders seek state aid runs with budget presentation, Times Union, January 8, 2016

Residents’ economic stability varies in area school districts, Utica Observer-Dispatch.com, January 7, 2016 * (pdf)

Timbs: Withholding public school aid Information is not a policy ‘best practice’, The Citizen, January 6, 2016 (pdf) *

SSFC Op-Ed, January 5, 2016

 

There are already bills in the Senate and the Assembly calling for school aid runs to be released every year.
Senate Bill #S4603 (Griffo):  https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2015/s4603
Assembly Bill #A6964 (Paulin):  https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2015/a6964

Senate Republicans vote to eliminate GEA, Politics on the Hudson, January 11, 2016

 

  • Attorney General lawsuit against Utica School District *

    Schneiderman takes Utica schools to court over alleged unfulfilled obligations to refugees. At the same time, the State owes the school district $47M this year alone. Dr. Rick Timbs has a lot to say about that. Click on the link above for news coverage starting November 18.

“The same attorney general that is filing the suit is fighting the district in two court cases basically. What I wonder is just how much of a severe economic hit can the state force on a very poor district like Utica for seven years and not have it affect their educational plan in some way regardless of recent allegations.”
~ Dr. Rick Timbs

 

“State government is directly responsible for the fiscal condition of public school districts. Public school districts don’t want to raise taxes while state government continues to renege on its constitutional obligation to adequately fund public school districts.”
~ Dr. Rick Timbs

“Funding for the independent auditors has not been presented in the budget, making the initiative seem as an unfunded mandate.”
~ Dr. Rick Timbs

“If the formula was to start running instantly, you’d need to come up with $4.9 billion to get to the level it should be at the current budget year.”
~ Dr. Rick Timbs

“We’re grateful for the $1.3 billion, but it’s not a record. It’s more than last year, but the problem is the distribution is uneven.”
~ Dr. Rick Timbs

“What you’ll find is that some places have high property values and low income or the other way around. It turns out that if you’re near a lake, a stream, a mountain, or a New York City reservoir, you’re going to have high property values. But often the people who live there don’t make a lot of money. You have the case of property wealth and income poor.”
~ Dr. Rick Timbs

 

Click here for News links archived from 2014

Click here for News links archived from 2013

 

 

 

 

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