The Citizens Budget Commission has a map today that details the “extraordinary variations” in state school aid among districts.
Schools get about $20 billion in school aid, up $805 billion from the previous year. School-aid formulas—based on a district’s wealth and other factors, including lobbying from lawmakers—have long been a battle ground for the Legislature.
The aid is critical. The CBC report says state aid represents about 40 percent of each district’s budget; it’s higher in low-wealth districts. The business-backed group has an interactive map that shows where more of the school aid goes—with the most going to rural districts and less to the more wealthy areas of Long Island and the Hudson Valley.
But the report found that there are ““hold harmless” provisions built into aid formulas that can skew funding for similarly sized districts. For example, the review found that the districts of
For example, Marlboro in Ulster County and Greenwood in Orange County have the same “need resource index value”—which is the combination of student needs and taxpayers’ capacity to raise revenue locally—but Marlboro receives $5,589 in state aid per student and Greenwood gets $10,672.
“State aid should be allocated equitably based on current, not historical, needs of each community and in ways that foster cost-effective practices,” said Elizabeth Lynam, the group’s director of state studies, in a statement. “This interactive map demonstrates that is not now the case.”