IBO simulates financial strain of Fair Student Funding recommendations

Children arrive at school
Children arrive at school, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. October 4, 2021.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files

A New York City Department of Education (DOE) working group charged with reviewing the city’s Fair Student Funding Formula – one of the ways the city funds its schools based on individual student need — released their recommendations for how to best provide for NYC students for the next fiscal year.

Following the release of those recommendations on Nov. 4, the city’s Independent Budget Office (IBO) simulated the financial implications of the task force’s top five recommendations — indicating that those changes will likely require up to $1.3 billion in new funding. 

These recommendations include an increase to the base foundation amount that each school receives, an additional weight for students in temporary housing, a concentration weight that takes into account students with high needs in each school, an added poverty weight for all students experiencing poverty and the elimination of a portfolio weight which was originally needed for specialized academic programs and schools.

The IBO’s simulation estimated that in order to achieve all the DOE working group’s recommendations, additional funding must be allocated. 

IBO estimates that in order to implement these recommendations, around $433 million to $1.3 billion will be needed.

According to the IBO their simulation model varies from the DOE working group’s because “IBO’s simulations do not assume the changes are net-zero, meaning that the increases to schools under an option would be offset by reductions in another area.”

DOE Chancellor David C. Banks addressed the working group’s efforts to improve the Fair Student Funding Formula, saying that the department was taking the recommendations very seriously.

“We will review it within the current fiscal context and use your recommendations to consider how we will propose that the Fair Student Funding (FSF) formula be applied most equitably for next year,” Banks said in a letter on Friday. “As we strive to create a stronger, more equitable education system, I am grateful for your dedication to our students and school communities. I hope that we can work together on future engagement to increase state and federal funding and best meet the needs of our students.”

To view the IBO’s presentation, visit their website at ibo.nyc.ny.us.