Assemblyman Santabarbara Committed to Ending School Aid Inequity, Pledges Support for School Funding Equity Act

Measure would reform the state’s school aid formula giving fairness to high-needs schools

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara is supporting a measure in the State Assembly that would change the way school districts are funded throughout New York State (A.4609). The bill, titled the School Funding Equity Act, would reform the state’s school aid formula, effectively bringing fairness to rural and urban school districts that have been shortchanged for years.

“When it comes to education funding, every state budget feels like ‘Groundhog Day.’ Each year, our districts that struggle to make ends meet are provided temporary fixes,” Assemblyman Santabarbara said. “It’s time to change that. Rather than applying a new Band-Aid each year, we must address the root of the problem – an outdated school aid formula that has been manipulated over time and prevents upstate districts, particularly in the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley, from receiving the funding they need.”

Specifically, the School Funding Equity Act would change the school aid formula by:

  • Allowing aid to be calculated based on a district’s data within the last five years, helping schools that experience fluctuation;
  • Providing an accurate calculation of the average cost of education instruction by excluding the top 10 percent and bottom 10 percent districts in school spending;
  • Eliminating automatic increases in aid to school districts that do not need increases as indicated by the formula, reclaiming the excess funding;
  • Eliminating the requirement that all school districts receive a minimum amount of school aid from the state;
  • Placing a greater emphasis on the number of students that can receive free and reduced school lunches;
  • Calling for the regional cost index to be updated to reflect current data; and
  • Addressing arbitrary provisions in the school aid formula that prevent the poorest schools from being compensated on their actual data

Updating the school aid formula would help to give school districts more financial stability, which would help them retain more teachers, allow for smaller class sizes and give students the opportunities they need and deserve to best learn and thrive, Assemblymember Santabarbara noted.

“I will always fight to give our school children the resources they need to get the best education possible. And while I will fight to secure education funding increases in this year’s budget, I believe we owe it to our children and our taxpayers to rectify the problems within the state’s education aid formula,” Assemblyman Santabarbara added.