City funnels $600 million to help ensure ‘Fair Student Funding’ in NYC

School classroom with blackboard
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Over 1,100 of New York City’s neediest public schools will get millions of dollars now that the city can fully fund the “Fair Student Funding” formula,  Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday. 

The formula was adopted in 2007 as a means of sending more money to underfunded schools. But most schools have not received the full amount that the formula says they should receive. 

Now, the city will funnel $600 million into fully funding the formula beginning in the 2021-22 school year, thanks in part to the New York state budget being able to fully fund foundation aid after receiving federal pandemic aid. 

“There were good days and bad days over the last 20 years, but mostly it felt like it was going to be a dream denied or dream deferred,” said de Blasio on Monday in reference to the state budget pledging to fully fund the Foundation Aid formula. “Now it is a dream realized because the activists and the folks who believe in change never gave up.”

Foundation aid was created after a 2006 court ruling decided the state’s financial system ws denying New York City public school students their right to a “sound, basic education.” For years, state lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo disagreed on the ruling’s interpretation, thus delaying more funds from being funneled into the formula. But the years-long fight over the education funding ended last month during this year’s state budget negotiations when lawmakers agreed to give $1.4 billion more towards the formula over the next three years. 

“Achieving one hundred percent fair student funding is a historic and game-changing investment that will further equity across all of our schools and provide greater resources, such as staff, materials, supplies, and more,” said Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter.  “I’m so grateful to those who advocated tirelessly for this and as a former Principal, I know how critical this investment will be for our school leaders and their communities.”

Fair Student Funding is the primary source principals use to hire staff buy materials and other educational resources. 

“Fair Student Funding is personal for me. As a former teacher, I worked in an under-funded school during the Bloomberg years when decisions were made around the realities of a budget rather than the needs of students,” said Brooklyn Councilmember Mark Treyger. “Ask any NYC principal and they’ll tell you how important FSF is for their school’s ability to hire new teachers, counselors, and social workers as well as start new art and music programs.