ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State lawmakers will be holding roundtable meetings to look into the issue of Foundation Aid.
The Foundation Aid budget is $18.4 billion, according to the New York State Education Department’s 2019-2020 state aid handbook. That’s more than 67 percent of total state aid that school districts receive.
Now, state lawmakers are looking to make changes to the formula.
“I think it’s overdue for the state to undertake this kind of effort,” New York State Council of School Superintendents Deputy Director for Advocacy and Communication Bob Lowry said. “Foundation Aid is the largest of the state aid formulas. It’s about two-thirds of total state aid formula.”
The formula takes into account education costs and regional factors as well as property taxes. It was created more than 10 years ago.
“The formula was enacted in 2007 following the culmination of some school finance litigation where the state system of financing of public schools was found to be unconstitutional, and it was a significant reform,” Lowry said.
But it was met with challenges.
“The state then encountered a few difficult years with the state recession,” Lowry explained. “The formula was frozen for three years, minimally increased for a few years there after that, and has fallen behind in phasing in what was intended to be a a four-year phasing period.”
Lowry says the state should look into how regions are constructed, poverty is measured in the formula, and how the property tax cap plays a roll.
“If you neglect maintenance on your car or house, it will start to deteriorate,” he said. “In a sense, the formula was neglected for a period of years.
There will be five roundtable meetings, including one in Buffalo and one in Syracuse.
A public hearing will also be held in Manhattan.