Public Policy-Making Public School Funding Term Paper

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The trial lasted seven months and Justice Leland Degrasse rendered his decision, 719 N.Y.S.2d 475 on January 10, 2001, in favor of plaintiffs and ordered the state to ensure that all public schools provide the opportunity for a sound basic education to their students." (Hunter, 2004) Entered, as part of this decision was a "costing-out study as the threshold task in developing a new school funding system." (Hunter, 2004) the intermediate-levels appeals court overturned the decision of the trial-court and made the claim that the New York State Constitution required only an eighth-grade education. The decision was appealed by the Plaintiff and the Court of Appeals sent down its decision (CFE II) which ruled for the favor of the plaintiff and New York State was given until the 30th July 2004 to: (1) make determination of the cost of the provision of a sound basic education; (2) fund these costs in each school; and (3) establish an accountability system to ensure the reforms actually provide the opportunity for a sound basic education." (Hunter, 2004) the deadline set by the court went by with no action from the state with the remand judge appointing a panel "of three special master to hold hearings on the matter and make recommendations to the court." (Hunter, 2004) the panel issued its report and recommendations on November 30, 2004 and compelled the court to "order the state to enact legislation within 90 days that would: (1) provide an additional $5.63 billion for annual operating aid, phased in over a four-year period; (2) undertake a new cost study every four years to determine the cost of a sound basic education; (3) provide an additional $9.2 billion for building, renovating, and leasing facilities, phased in over a five-year period; and (4) undertake a facilities study every five years, in accordance with the methodology used by CFE in its facilities analysis to develop the BRICKS Plan." (Hunter, 2004)

Prior to the June 2003 Court of Appeals order that made a costing-out study a requirement the CFE and the New York State School Boards Association "announced Costing Out: A New York Adequacy Study, which was undertaken by leading national experts and included public engagement across the state." (Hunter, 2004) the governor announced that the Commission on Education Reform" would be formed in September 2004 which was an initiative in which experts from the outside were hired to "perform a cost study" both of which were released sometime in spring of 2004.

Additionally a cost study was released by the New York State Board of Regents in 2004 considered a part of the funding proposal submitted annual for the school. All three cost studies made a recommendation for annual funding increases ranging from $2.5 billion to $9.0 billion in pre-k-12 education spending (26.5% increase) with all three reports developing "similar recommendations for changes in the policies and practices of the state's school funding system and urging the state to do the following:

Match school resources to student needs;

Adopt a foundation-based approach;

Provide "state aid" based on enrollment, instead of attendance;

Supply regional-cost adjustments;

Direct most of the increased funding, between 62% and 88%, to the New York City School District and most of the remainder to other districts educating high-need students; and Simplify the funding system by combining many of the almost 50 separate state aid formulas into one "operating aid" foundation formula." (Hunter, 2004)

As in the case of traditional cost studies all three of the studies reported were in exclusion of the school facilities capital costs. The intermediate appeals court ordered New York State to make an increase in operating funds of approximately $4,7 billion "per year to be phased in over four years, and provide an infusion of at least $9.2 billion facilities funding, to be accomplished within five years. The state missed the April 1 deadline set by the court and in n November 2006, the 2003 decision of he Court of Appeals was reaffirmed and the state was ordered to provide approximately $2 billion additional to its annual operating aid to the public schools. The New governor proposed reforms in education finance and accountability in January 2007 and statewide increases of $7 billion in annual state aid...phased in over four years." On April 1 the recommendations of the governor were passed by the state legislature.

IV. POLICY ADOPTION RECOMMENDATIONS of the THREE AGENCIES the report entitled; "New York Adequacy Study: Providing all children with full opportunity to meet the Regents Learning Standards" (2004) made the recommendations of: (1) aligning funding with needs of students; (2) adoption of a foundation-based approach; (3) stated 'pre-kindergarten education programs as well as extended day and summer school programs' as critical to the 'educational success of children living in poverty.'; (4) adjustment of resources for geographic cost differences; and (5) adjustment of resources for geographic differences in costs. (Hunter, 2004; paraphrased) This report was completed at the request of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and the New York State School Boards Association who collaborated with 28 other organizations throughout the state. The focus of the policy agenda was moving the state ahead on the lawsuit, which challenged the funding system in the state as being unconstitutional. (CFE v. State, 2004) This was funded by a.I.R and MAP foundation grants. (Hunter, 2004)

In the New York Fact Sheet entitled: "Estimating the Additional Cost of Providing an Adequate Education" recommendations made were for: (1) targeting state aid to educational need; (2) enactment of foundation -- based approach; (3) focus on "strengthening teaching because teaching affects student achievement significantly; (4) adjustment of resources for regional cost differences; (4) implementation over a seven years period beginning in 2004-05; and (5) reliance on New York State assessments aligned with the Regents Learning Standards, on some of which students must score 'proficient' or above to receive a high school diploma." (Hunter, 2004)

The funding suggested was $6.0 billion additional in state funding in 2003-2004. The New York Fact Sheet entitled: "Resource Adequacy Study for the New York State Commission on Education Reform" suggests that $2.5 to $5.6 billion additional funding in 2004 dollars, based on the 'cost efficient' school districts identified as 'successful' should be allocated. The major recommendations include: (1) alignment of resources with student need; (2) target additional resources to teacher quality and preschool programs; (3) adopt a foundation-based approach; (4) adjust resources for geographic cost differences; and (4) no particular implementation period suggested. (Hunter, 2004; paraphrased) There was absolutely no public input on these recommendations and as well the cost study team failed to conduct outreach to stakeholders or the public. (Hunter, 2004)

V. FISCAL POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS

The fiscal policy recommendations of each of the recommending agencies were stated as follows:

New York State Board of Regents $6.0 billion additional state funding in 2003-2004 dollars. The other studies do not designate where the funding would originate, i.e., state and/or local. (Hunter, 2004)

New York State Commission on Education Reform Between $2.5 billion and $5.6 billion additional funding in 2004 dollars, based on the "cost efficient" "successful." (Hunter, 2004)

The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Between $6.2 and $8.4

Billion additional funding

Funding in 2001-02 dollars

An increase of 19.6 to 26.5%. (Hunter, 2004)

VI. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS COMPARISON

The following sections show a comparison of the recommendations made by each agency for New York State Schools. In each of these it is recommended that the needs of the students be matched by the resources provided by the state. A 'foundation-based' approach is recommended by the New York State Board of Regents and the Atlantic Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a.I.R. And MAP. Whereas the New York State Commission of Education recommends 'targeting of resources toward quality in teachers and preschool programs. State aid based on enrollment (rather than attendance) is recommended by the New York State Board of Regents whereas the second agency places a focus on teaching enabling student achievement. Regional cost-adjustments are recommended by all three-agency reports and each of these agencies recommends directing funding increases into New York City School District. It is interesting to note the fact that the New York State Commission on Education Reform fails to set out any policy implementation plans.

New York State Board of Regents

Match school resources to student needs;

Adopt a foundation-based approach;

Provide "state aid" based on enrollment, instead of attendance;

Supply regional-cost adjustments;

Direct most of the increased funding, between 62% and 88%, to the New York City School District and most of the remainder to other districts educating high-need students; and Simplify the funding system by combining many of the almost 50 separate state aid formulas into one "operating aid" foundation formula." (Hunter, 2004)

The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the American Institute for Research (a.I.R) and Management Analysis and Planning (MAP)

Targeting state aid to educational need;

Enactment of foundation -- based approach;

Focus on "strengthening…[continue]

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