Saturday, December 3, 2011

A New and Critical Report from SSFC

The Statewide School Finance Consortium has published a new report, replete with statistics that we've seen before but now pulled together into a narrative that shows just what's been happening over the past several years. I am especially interested in the way SSFC targets the State Senate as enablers of fiscal inequity in schools. Harsh, but almost certainly justified. The entire report is well worth a skim (or a deep read, if you like graphs and numbers and want to find out why things are in such a mess).
Members of the Senate have been preoccupied with ascension to and maintenance of power, personally and as a conference. Regardless of which party has had the majority in the house, each party has ignored numerous opportunities to solve the equitable funding issue.

Republicans and 3 Democrats represent SSFC member school districts. Past behavior of this delegation has enabled state aid unfairness to continue since 2007. Their performance will be imperative to the success of any initiative that results in greater equity, fairness, transparency and predictability in state aid distribution and will also likely prove to be a determining factor in who holds the leadership in the next Senate.

All of the data presented in this report, as well as similar research done by Rutgers University, Cornell University, the Alliance for Quality Education and others point to the same conclusions about New York State government: It is not paying serious enough attention to this issue and while it is empowered to act on funding equity it has chosen not to do so. Why?

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