Yesterday we all listened to Governor Andrew Cuomo describe the progress made in New York State over the past four years and lay out a set of initiatives aimed to promote the New York’s economy, welcome new citizens, and improve its schools. While people can disagree on the highlights and disappointments, it is clear he is promoting full-day Universal PreK, master teacher teacher incentives, infusion of technology into classrooms, and the return of manufacturing to NYS.  What was amazingly missing was any discussion of the details of a host of issues that area swirling around the area of school finance and the controversy around the rollout of the Common Core, APPR, and the new assessments. 

Many interesting summaries and commentaries have been posted, but I want to highlight a recently released Position Paper by Bruce Fraser and the Rural Schools Association of NYS that highlights issues not addressed by the Governor. This brief develops a coherent agenda and argues for changes to the financing of schools based on evidence. Note the links at the bottom of the paper that offer supporting evidence that all should see.  

The RSA Position Paper (2 pages) can be found here (website, .pdf). Among the highlights are…

  • PK-12 education has become a lower priority in the state budget. The state share of local budgets has dropped from 48.8% in 2000/1 to near 39% today.
  • Cumulative impact of the GEA on rural schools budgets have totaled $1.174 Billion.
  • RSA’s member school districts are being provided 7.1% less state aid for 2013-14 than they received in 2008-09.
  • Advocates for a more stable, long-term approach to state aid with a Berger-Type commission to address equity in school finance.  
  • Argues for a capping of STAR with additional monies allocated to STAR to be used to reduce GEA. 

Please contact me or Bruce Fraser with any questions.

Sincerely, John Sipple, Director, NYS Center for Rural Schools

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