ALBANY – With cuts made during the recession now restored, education policymakers and stakeholders are focusing on how school aid is distributed – a review that could lead to the revamping of the state’s nearly decade-old funding formula, long a point of contention in past legislative sessions.
The political environment of the 2017-18 budget could be just right for fully phasing it in, with election season out of the way and other funding issues off the table. And long-awaited decisions in two court cases against the state could give legislators an extra push to act.
In anticipation, the state Education Department and advocacy groups are looking at what’s known as the foundation aid formula, what fully phasing it in would entail, and whether substantial changes are needed. The department and the Board of Regents could make recommendations in the aid proposal they’ll submit to the governor before January budget discussions.
The question is whether those recommendations, due in the fall, will be “politically palatable,” Statewide School Finance Consortium executive director Rick Timbs told POLITICO New York.
“We want to make sure that each child has the appropriate ability to graduate from school and have a successful school career, and a lot of it is based on the type of support they get from the state,” he said. “The problem is, you have a huge political dynamic staring you in the face.”
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