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Resurrecting the Promise of Foundation Aid

September 29, 2021

Questions? Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
Greg Berck, Esq., Assistant Director
E:  advocacy@nyscoss.org

ALBANY, NY – At the end of September, The Council released a report on the state of Foundation Aid, the primary general purpose operating aid formula supporting public schools in New York State.

The 2021-22 enacted state budget increases Foundation Aid by $1.4 billion (7.6%) and commits to fully funding the formula within three years—by 2023-24.

Almost from the beginning back in 2007, the Council has described Foundation Aid as an underappreciated achievement in public policy—it generally delivered the greatest aid per pupil to the neediest districts and promised more transparency in state funding. We are grateful to Senators and Assembly members for the commitment they have demonstrated to funding Foundation Aid.

The report analyzes trends in progress toward full funding for different groupings of districts. For example, 42% of districts are on “save-harmless”—fully funded now. Eighty-three percent of this save-harmless aid supports average and high need school districts, many serving low-wealth rural communities. On the other hand, 17% of districts are further from full-funding now than when the formula began. Typically, these districts have received relatively strong Foundation Aid increases, but enrollment growth and other demographic changes have caused their full funding targets to increase even more.

The report also notes that the state budget formula used to allocate some federal COVID-relief aid may indicate possible future directions for revising Foundation Aid. The formula for federal aid distribution updates and restructures an index used to account for regional cost differences and introduces new measures of student poverty.

The state’s major revenue sources can be hard to predict and that creates uncertainty for school funding. But the determination the legislature has shown in funding the formula is impressive and that gives hope that the promise of Foundation Aid will finally be fulfilled.

Please write to advocacy@nyscoss.org with any questions or suggestions.
 


Read The Council’s report on the state of Foundation Aid and the implications of achieving full-funding of that formula, as promised in the state’s 2021-22 budget.

Federal COVID-Relief Funding

May 20, 2021

Questions? Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
Greg Berck, Esq., Assistant Director
E:  advocacy@nyscoss.org

A $12 billion influx of federal COVID-relief funding provides both opportunities and challenges for school districts. Statewide, the sum approaches the equivalence of a 50% increase in state aid. But the funding is temporary and it comes with strings attached.

To help school district leaders understand the requirements accompanying this federal aid and develop sound plans for its use, the Council has created a website section which will share resources we produce as well as items from the State Education Department and other sources.

Among the items you will find are the recording of our May 13 and a compilation of extracts from laws and regulations which illuminate what can or must be done with the federal aid, while we await more formal guidance from the U.S. Education Department.

Access our resource page here.


Please call or write to advocacy@nyscoss.org with any questions or suggestions.

 


Access a collection of resources to help understand the requirements and opportunities attached to the federal assistance coming to most of New York's school districts.

Easy to Read School Aid Run - Plus Details

April 13, 2021

Questions? Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
Greg Berck, Esq., Assistant Director
E:  advocacy@nyscoss.org

We have created an Excel spreadsheet which allows users to create an easier to read School Aid run for any district passed on the state budget passed by the Legislature last week.

In addition to presenting the same information as the state-produced runs in an easier to analyze format, we provide more detail on federal aid and where districts stand in relation to full funding of the Foundation Aid formula.

Here is the link to access and use the spreadsheet .

It may take a while to load. Once it does, enter a district’s six digit BEDS Code to create a report. To look up a code for any district, click on the tab named “CODE LIST” at the bottom of the screen.  

There are tabs for REPORT 1 and REPORT 2 on the bottom of the screen.
  
The upper section of REPORT 1 replicates what appears on the state-produced aid runs but with the two years of aid for each category presented side-by-side, along with the change and percentage change by category. This makes it easier to identify which aid categories are most influencing the change in total aid.
  
The lower section provides more detail.
  
First, in the state-produced runs, the Pandemic Adjustment is included in 2020-21 aids, but not the offsetting allocations from the federal CARES Act. While this is an accurate representation of state funding, it arguably has the effect of making the change in total funding appear greater than it “feels” for each district. We include a row showing the change in total funding excluding the 2020-21 Pandemic Adjustment.
  
Second, for some districts, 2021-22 Universal Prekindergarten Aid includes a new full-day prekindergarten expansion grant. We include a row with this sum for affected districts.
  
Third, at the bottom of the state-produced runs, estimates appear for district allocations from the December Coronavirus Relief and Recovery Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and March American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)—“CRRSA 90% ESSER + BASE ALLOC” and “AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN,” respectively. We include rows for these sums. 

For some districts, the American Rescue Plan allocations are comprised of two parts—an allocation based on shares of Title 1 funding as required by federal law, plus a “Learning Loss Grant.” We show the total ARPA allocation and separate lines for these two components.
  
Under ARPA, states are allowed or required to reserve parts of their federal education funding for specified purposes, including at least 5% to address learning loss, at least 1% for summer enrichment programs, and at least 1% for after-school programs. The enacted budget aims to satisfy these federally required set-asides through the Learning Loss Grants program.
  
All districts are required to use at least 20% of their allocations based on Title 1 shares to address learning loss. The Learning Loss Grants are in addition to those local set-asides. We provide more information about the learning loss funding here.
  
Finally, we include a row showing required community schools set-asides for affected districts—although not included on state-produced runs, that requirement has been continued.
  
REPORT 2 presents changes in aid estimates over time: from March 2020 to November 2020 to April 2021 for 2020-21 aid and from November 2020 to April 2021-22 aid. The March 2020 estimates reflect what districts were projected to receive at the time the 2020-21 state budget was enacted. The November 2020 database was used for the Governor’s budget proposal. The April 2021 figures reflect what is projected for the 2021-22 enacted state budget.

Please call or write to advocacy@nyscoss.org with any questions or suggestions.
  
Here are some other resources: 

- State Education Department Memorandum on American Rescue Plan Funding

- Compilation of Education-Related Funding Provisions of the American Rescue Plan 

- U.S. Department of Education FACT SHEET American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER) 

 
Access an excel spreadsheet allowing users to create an easier way to read School Aid run for any district passed on the state budget passed by the Legislature this week.

State Legislative Committee

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Committee PositionCommittee Member Contact InfoTerm StartTerm End
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PresidentDr. Phyllis S. Harrington
Superintendent of Schools
Oceanside UFSD
145 Merle Avenue Oceanside, NY 11572
7/1/20216/30/2022
Co-ChairMr. Michael R. Cornell
Superintendent of Schools
Hamburg CSD
5305 Abbott Rd Hamburg, NY 14075-1699 UNITED STATES
7/1/2021 
Co-ChairDr. Joseph S. Famularo
Superintendent of Schools
Bellmore UFSD
580 Winthrop Ave Bellmore, NY 11710-4200 UNITED STATES
7/1/2018 
MemberMr. Michael J. Baumann
Superintendent of Schools
Newfane CSD
6273 Charlotteville Road Newfane, NY 14108
7/1/2013 
MemberMr. Patrick H. Brady
Superintendent of Schools
Massena CSD
84 Nightengale Avenue Massena, NY 13662
7/1/2013 
MemberDr. Lori S. Caplan


70 Surrey Hill Dr Latham, NY 12110
7/1/2013 
MemberMr. Raymond Castellani
Superintendent of Schools
Webutuck CSD
194 Haight Road Amenia, NY 12501
7/1/2018 
MemberMr. Matthew Cole
Superintendent of Schools
Livonia CSD
PO Box E 40 Spring Street Livonia, NY 14487-0489 UNITED STATES
9/19/2016 

Your Advocacy Team

 

Robert Lowry, Jr.
Deputy Director, NYSCOSS
BobLowry@nyscoss.org
Greg Berck, Esq.
Assistant Director, NYSCOSS
Greg@nyscoss.org

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