School Finance Reform Victory

January 10, 2001. Today, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, a coalition of parent organizations, community school boards, concerned citizens and advocacy groups won a major victory at the State Supreme Court in their challenge to the way in which New York State funds elementary and secondary education.  In his 180-page decision, Justice Leland DeGrasse gave the New York State legislature until September 15, 2001, to draw up a new funding system that meets the following five requirements:

  1. Ensuring that every school district has the resources necessary for providing the opportunity for a sound basic education.
  2. Taking into account variations in local costs.
  3. Providing sustained and stable funding in order to promote long-term planning by schools and school districts.
  4. Providing as much transparency as possible so that the public may understand how the State distributes School aid.
  5. Ensuring a system of accountability to measure whether the reforms implemented by the legislature actually provide the opportunity for a sound basic education and remedy the disparate impact of the current finance system.

Related: the report released by the Fiscal Policy Institute back in January 1999. This report set forth and analyzed a plan for reforming New York State’s system of financing its schools that covers the aid formula part of Justice’s DeGrasse’s requirements.

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