Given the scope and timeline of this project, EAquitas unfortunately has only scratched the surface; EAquitas acknowledges that school funding issues are more comprehensive than what is presented. So, here is a compilation of other facets on school funding (1) to be considered and researched by the readers, (2) warrant further investigation and examination by experts.
Throughout the Task Force report, it calls for more research and analysis for determining the appropriate thresholds.
including the number or percent of students in a school that would constitute a high concentration of a particular student population to receive the additional concentration weight (p. 7);
enrollment thresholds for staffing positions (p. 8).
It was also noted that “Issues discussed in our meetings but not included as recommendations include class size and average teacher salary” (p. 1) which should be examined as another factor to improve equity in schools.
Further investigation warranted on the recommendation for “[using] additional State funding to create a new stream of more flexible funding” (p. 9).
unrestricted (i.e. discretionary or non-categorical) funding
“DOE should conduct a thorough review of CTE, Specialized Audition and Transfer weights and evaluate the adequacy of the weight allocations, including for general education students, students with disabilities and ELLs” (p. 13)
“specialized academic” schools, a category, including the eight specialized exam high schools and five additional high schools: Bard Manhattan, Bard Queens, Millennium Brooklyn, the NYC iSchool, and Townsend Harris in Queens; why or how other similar schools were excluded remain unanswered, thus this status is not justified in the name of equity.
Related: “Specialized academic portfolios” schools which tend to enroll fewer Black and Hispanic students.
For the new poverty weight, DOE should explore a New York City specific income measure which is inclusive of immigrant families without legal status, e.g. the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity’s NYC Government Poverty Measure.
Poverty is used as a proxy for need for academic intervention services when prior test scores for incoming students are unavailable—for students younger than grade 3 (the earliest grade tested in New York State standardized tests) (Subramanian, 2019)
“The addition of this [recommended] weight is not to be confused with the current poverty weight in FSF. Presently, the FSF formula includes a poverty weight only as a proxy for the need for academic intervention services for students who do not yet have test scores to use for this purpose, which should continue (p. 5).
“Reso 569 calls for additional funding for schools that serve students in fourth grade or higher by incorporating a poverty weight over and above the existing need weights for academic intervention, students with disabilities, and English Language Learners” (Subramanian, 2018).
“The New York State budget will provide a 7-percent rate increase in Foundation Aid for public schools, however, it calls for only a 4-percent increase for schools that provide special education for children with development disabilities” (Buckley, 2021).
In the April 2022 PEP meeting, many Occupational and Physical Therapists (OT/PT) spoke up to make the differential in salary equal to other IEP team members and offerings. These OP/PTs are demanding parity, resources, and respect.
“the government is not fully investing into its own educational systems. Unhealthily relying on private philanthropic efforts to expand our education system is dangerous because it creates a new form of non-elected governance” (Jackson, 2019), it also maintains a system where the wealthy dictate how the funding is used.
“My proposed solution is to set a fundraising cap for individual schools that takes into account monetary as well as in-kind donations. Ideally, once this cap is reached, parents, PTAs, and private organizations can still fundraise, but the excess funds would go towards supporting the larger New York City Public School system. This allows more parents to directly fund and support their child’s school while still supporting the entire New York Public School system” (Jackson, 2019).
Under FSF, ideally high-needs students are prioritized, but in practice, principal discretion are impacted by other factors like building repairs, overtime pay, and extracurriculars; thus principals are faced with a dilemma, which “leaves them exposed to the voices of the most influential parents” (Pont, 2019).