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“The Task Force’s overall belief that FSF is a tool to address inequities across schools” (p. 4).

The 2021 report was created by the Task Force established under the Local Law 17 of 2019 (“LL 17/2019”) to review the Fair Student Funding Formula (FSF), which is a weighted student funding formula used by the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to distribute funds directly to principals based on the needs of students attending a particular school. The purpose of the Task Force is to make recommendations to the Mayor, Chancellor and City Council Speaker related to FSF. However, under the jurisdiction of the de Blasio administration, the report was never publicly released—to the bane of the Panel for Educational Policy in the current Adams administration in grappling with school funding.

According to Shino Tanikawa, who was on appointed to the Task Force, “It became clear the City Hall’s interest was in using the Task Force recommendation to pressure the State to fully fund the Foundation Aid, not to comprehensively evaluate the formula itself” (Tanikawa, 2021).

The following is the main points in each recommendation:

  1. Bring All Schools to 100 Percent FSF with CFE Funding
    1. “FSF is the main source of funding for New York City schools and provides principals flexibility in spending, subject to consultation with School Leadership Teams and to the school’s Comprehensive Education Plan [...] A result of insufficient funding from New York State, not all schools are fully funded under FSF” (p. 4).
    2. “The Task Force recommends that approximately $750 million from CFE funding be invested annually to raise all schools to 100 percent of their FSF entitlements [...while] prioritizing schools within districts with the highest poverty rates to receive 100 percent of their FSF entitlements” (p. 4).
    3. The State must fully fund the Foundation Aid to New York City. In the 2006 Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) v. the State of New York lawsuit, it was determined that the State under-funded New York City schools, and it is the State’s responsibility to provide the necessary educational resources to school districts. As such, the Education Budget and Reform Act of 2007 created the Foundation Aid formula to distribute unrestricted aid to all school districts across the State. The Foundation Aid funding later fell short, thus reducing DOE’s ability to fully fund FSF.
  2. Add New Weights for Poverty, Students in Temporary Housing, and Students in Foster Care with CFE Funding
    1. Adding three new weights to the FSF formula for students: living in poverty, living in temporary housing, and in foster care. As such students face challenges to academic success and have worse educational outcomes than their peers.
  3. Add a New Weight for Concentrations of Need with CFE Funding
    1. “Adding a new FSF school-based weight with CFE funding for schools that have a high number or percentage of students in a particular category. Schools that have a threshold number or percent of students would receive this additional weight” (p. 5).
    2. “Increasing funding outside of FSF with CFE funding for system-wide and school specific programming targeted particularly for schools with a high number or percentage of certain categories of students” (p. 5).
  4. Increase Base Allocation with CFE Funding
    1. DOE should expand the base allocation within FSF to include funding for staffing positions (ie. Assistant principal, Guidance counselor, Social worker) as the Task Force finds the Grade Weight and Special Student Need Population Weights to be insufficient to ensure staffing beyond classroom teachers at all schools.
  5. Provide Schools with Funding from the State to Hire Staff Needed to Meet Instructional Mandates of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners
    1. Funding should be sufficient to hire the number of teachers required to provide students with disabilities and ELLs with their mandated instruction and classes, regardless of the total number of students expected to be enrolled or currently enrolled who require a particular setting” (p. 9)
  6. Evaluate Increasing the Weights for Specialized Populations
    1. DOE should evaluate increasing weights for Special Education, ELLs, and Academic Intervention Services,Career and Technical Education (CTE), Specialized Audition, and Transfer weights to provide for specialized and special needs.
  7. Increase High School Weight to Match the Specialized Academic Weight with CFE Funding
    1. Move the Special Academic Weight from the Portfolio weight to the Grade Weight for 9 - 12. So all high schools can receive additional resources to offer adequate AP courses and other academically challenging courses.
  8. Review and Evaluate Career and Technical Education, Specialized Audition and Transfer Weights
    1. “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).
  9. Provide Greater Transparency, Input and Training
    1. “Communication should always be clear and accessible
    2. Increased involvement members from the community and stakeholders

Disclaimer: EAquitas did not work with the Task Force in drafting the report or reccomendations. As such, it is only to the extent of the Task Force can these be recommended as policy.