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December 15, 2015
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JP O’Hare

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Board of Regents Recommends $2.4 Billion School Aid Increase to Provide Additional Funding for Districts and Board Priorities

The New York State Board of Regents today gave final approval to its 2016-2017 State School Aid proposal, calling for a $2.4 billion increase in State aid. In the proposal, the Board requests substantial increases in basic operating aid to districts, the full restoration of the remaining Gap Elimination Adjustment, and money for several Board priorities, including early childhood education, multiple pathways to graduation, professional development for educators, the needs of English language learners, digital learning, and family and community engagement.

“As with past proposals, this year’s addresses uneven funding across districts by driving more money to districts with a high concentration of students who need it most—those with special needs, English language learners, and those from low income homes,” Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said. “We are also requesting new dollars to support multiple pathways to graduation, expand early childhood education, and strengthen services for students learning English. Funding these measures will greatly benefit New York’s three million public school children by putting them firmly on the path of college and career readiness. This proposal represents a smart investment in our State’s collective future.”

“The Regents’ proposal strikes the right balance of providing our districts with increased budget flexibility, while maintaining a strong focus on programs we know prepare our students to be successful upon high school graduation,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “The Regents have asked for additional funds to increase access to high-quality CTE programs and build on successful professional development programs, such as Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (STLE). The proposal also recognizes the need to provide our struggling schools with resources to make strategic investments in school turnaround efforts.”

“In totality, this year’s Regents State Aid Proposal recognizes that our school districts—particularly our low wealth districts—need additional operating dollars to support their schools, their teachers, and, most importantly, their students,” said Regent James R. Tallon, Jr., Chair of the Regents State Aid Subcommittee. “That is why the Board recommends a full phase in of Foundation Aid, with its focus on high need schools and districts, and a permanent repeal of the Gap Elimination Adjustment and full restoration of funds to all school districts in the State. By providing our school districts with needed resources, our schools will be better positioned to offer all students the services and supports they need to be successful in the classroom and as citizens.”

The 2016-2017 State Aid Proposal seeks to meet basic school operating needs in a year when local revenues are likely to be flat due to the impact of the Property Tax Levy Limit statutes. The proposal recommends a $1.3 billion increase in Foundation Aid and the full restoration of $434 million in Gap Elimination Adjustment deductions. It also recommends that the State continue to fund the reimbursement-based aid programs at their statutory levels for the 2016-2017 school year for $403 million. Funds for building, transportation, and special education services are among these reimbursable expenses.

Additionally, the Board asks that the State address the long and growing queue of prior year aid claims in a fiscally responsible manner, through the use of the one-time settlement funds. The money owed to districts now equals $317.9 million; most of the dollars are owed to high need districts.

The proposal also addresses specific educational needs identified by the Board. It calls for increased investment in high quality prekindergarten and career and technical education programs; new support for the education of English Language Learners;  professional development for teachers and principals; expansion of family and community engagement efforts; systemic reform in struggling schools; and digital learning. The Board is requesting $345 million to pay for these programs in 2016-2017 and an additional $290 million to be reimbursed to districts in the 2017-2018 school year. Included in the figure for 2016-2017 is funding to support the work of the Workgroup on Improving Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color.

The Regents 2015-16 State School Aid Proposal is available at this link:

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