Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks are pushing to increase equity in formula for fair student financing

January 23, 2023

Proposed changes in direct response to recommendations from the Fair Student Funding Working Group convened in 2022

NEW YORK – New York Mayor Eric Adams and New York Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David C. Banks today announced proposed improvements to the Fair Student Funding (FSF) formula for the 2023-2024 school year to address the Equal opportunities increase formula. The improvements announced today are a direct response to the November 2022 recommendations of the Fair Student Funding Working Group. The FSF formula funds approximately two-thirds of county school budgets and funds schools specifically based on the needs of their students.

New York City public schools will propose the following changes:

  • An additional weight for students in temporary housing for schools that serve these students, including recently asylum-seeking students.
  • An added weight for schools that have a higher concentration of students with needs, including students in poverty, students with disabilities and English learners.

“From day one of our administration, we have placed the voices of the family at the heart of our policies and programs. This has allowed us to bring about real change by working together to leverage different backgrounds and ideals,” he said Mayor Adams. “Through the work of our Fair Student Funding Working Group, we are prioritizing the needs and voices of long-forgotten students, and this is just the beginning in transforming New York City public schools into a thoughtful institution for all.”

“These changes, made as a direct result of the thoughtful work of the Fair Student Funding Working Group, are representative of the commitment of New York City public schools to work directly with our communities and implement real change to support our schools and our children, ” said DOE Chancellor Banks. “This was intricate work they undertook and I am very grateful for the work of the Fair Student Funding Working Group and Co-Chairs Dia Bryant and Jasmine Gripper and excited to move these recommendations forward.”

Building on another of the challenges identified by the working group, New York City public schools will also improve the budget appeals process to ensure it addresses the staffing needs of special education schools. Finally, New York City public schools will intentionally focus on increasing transparency and community engagement regarding the FSF formula and school budgets more broadly.

The proposed weighting changes will be submitted to the Education Policy Board for review.

In July 2022, the working group met in response to Chancellor Banks’ call for public engagement to review the FSF formula. The working group – led by two co-chairs, Alliance for Quality Education Executive Director Jasmine Gripper and Ed Trust-New York Executive Director Dr. Dia Bryant – engaged in a robust process for three months, meeting with national experts and conducting community engagement sessions, and considering specific policy improvements and their impact on New York schools and communities. In November 2022, the working group submitted its report for the Chancellor to examine.

More specifically, New York City public schools are recommending these changes:

Adding a student in temporary residency weight to the FSF formula:

  • This weight is a game-changing shift in how schools allocate resources to public school students, with a particular focus on supporting students living in temporary housing.
  • This funding will support students in asylum-seeking families living in temporary housing and provide additional resources to the schools that host them.
  • This change is expected to raise approximately $45 million in funding and will impact students in temporary housing across all five boroughs.

Adding a concentration weight to the FSF formula:

  • Schools that serve a higher concentration of students with needs (e.g., students living in poverty, students with disabilities, and English language learners) may need additional resources to provide quality education opportunities for their students.
  • This change is expected to fund schools in all five boroughs with over $45 million and impact over 300 schools across the city, serving the highest concentration of the neediest students.

Ensuring that the budget appeals process addresses the needs of special education:

  • During the engagement sessions, a key focus of the working group was the critical need for schools to meet the staffing needs of students with disabilities in a general education setting. Through the budget appeals process, New York City public schools will refine the budget appeals process to prioritize helping schools meet these needs.

Increasing budget transparency for families, students and the public:

  • From the working group and its community engagement sessions, New York City public schools heard concerns about a lack of transparency and understanding regarding school funding, how the formula works, and available school-level funding.

New York City public schools are now taking steps to counteract this by increasing transparency around school budgets and their own budget through additional, more accessible information on their website and through their own external participation process.