Timesunion.com has an article about the changes in New York’s financial aid reform
ALBANY — The state Board of Regents has proposed changing an education aid formula to a model that would send more money to poor districts.
Under a proposal put forward Monday, 73 percent of state aid would go to high-needs districts. The formula change recommendation is a recognition of the considerable financial strain placed on school districts by a property tax cap and school aid limit, said Regent James Tallon Jr.
“This is not an environment that is going to revert back to 7, 8 or 9 percent increases in school support,” he said.
Under the current system, wealthier districts are due to get higher percentage aid increases than poor districts, said Nikki Jones, spokeswoman for the Alliance for Quality Education, an advocacy group pushing for increased school aid. New York has one of the worst funding gaps between poor and wealthy districts in the nation.
She said that without the implementation of the Regents proposal, New York “will once again shortchange the neediest and put the needs of wealthier suburban communities ahead of cities large and small and poor rural upstate schools.”
Money for the increased aid would be gained by changing the building aid and transportation aid formulas. The Regents also recommended that the state explore a wider merger of school districts, even at the county level, to create an “equity-enhancing” tax base.
The creation of large, regional high schools was another recommendation in the proposal.
To help districts save on costs, the Regents recommended an increased reliance on the state’s Boards of Cooperative Education, or BOCES, to share services. The changes would allow charter schools and the big four city districts (Yonkers, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse) to utilize BOCES services.
The proposal was passed by the Regents’ state aid subcommittee and is expected to be approved by the full Board on Tuesday. The Legislature would still have to approve the change.
Tallon said the Regents typically issue their proposal in December to help guide the state budget process. The exact school aid formulas won’t be revealed until next year.