advocacy

UPDATE 2018

The Mayor and City Council is raising funding up to 90% for all schools for the next budget year. CLICK HERE to read more.

UPDATE

The Mayor decided not to raise funding for the 2017/18 school year, despite saying he would last spring. More info is at the bottom.

 

Fair funding in New York City schools is anything but fair. I spent the 2015-16 fighting for answers and equity in a flawed and imperfect system. From being told in October there would be no change in Fair Student Funding budgets, millions of dollars are now going to schools who'd been at the bottom of the funding battle. While it's not a perfect, nor fair fix, it's a move in the right direction. Some info about the battle:

BACKGROUND: 

The majority of NYC public school funds come from a budget line called Fair Student Funding. According to NYC's Department of Education: Fair Student Funding (FSF) aims to achieve three major goals:

 

  • improving student achievement

  • funding schools equitably

  • making school budgets more transparent. 

  • According to NYC's Department of Education: Fair Student Funding (FSF) aims to achievethree major goals

In the specialized high schools cohort (8 test in schools in NYC), the funding ranged from 87% to 124%, with no explanations. Brooklyn Tech, where my children were students and I was PTA co-president was the lowest funded, with the largest student body comprised of the most students living at or below the poverty level.

 

INITIAL OUTREACH

This to the CFO of the Department of Education:

 

"While there seem to be numerous funding disparities, we are concerned with one. Of the eight specialized high schools, Brooklyn Tech is funded at 87% of FSF, the lowest percentage of any SHSAT High School. That is not equitable funding for all SHSAT students and puts BTHS students at a competitive disadvantage. We are the largest school of the group, operating in the oldest building, with the most students, and the highest number qualifying for free or reduced lunch. The original specialized high schools were created to provide a transformational learning experience for students by maintaining a culture of high expectations and a high level of rigor in the classroom. And yet Brooklyn Tech receives a lower percentage of its budget than any other of its specialized cohorts.

We are asking why.

Why are other schools with the same exact admissions standard receiving proportionally more financial support, one at over 124% of their FSF budget? Why are Tech students losing AP courses and challenging electives? Why is one of the top STEM schools in the country functioning with a sub par IT infrastructure? Of the original three, why is the Manhattan- based school receiving close to 97% of its budget while the other two are receiving far less? Why are our hard working, high achieving students being penalized?

Speaking on behalf of 5500 students, over 10,000 parents, hundreds of teachers and staff, and tens of thousands of alumni, we believe our students deserve more. At the very least, they deserve what students at the other specialized schools are receiving."

FROM THERE

A change.org petition was created with thousands signatures and hundreds of comments like: 

It seems that this type of funding is clearly discriminating BTHS and its fantastic students. 

 

Fair Student Funding was created so all students would receive equal educational opportunities. Brooklyn Tech students haven't been, with no change to that in the foreseeable future. And that is not fair, equitable, or right.

 

There can be no rational reason for failing to fund Brooklyn Tech at the same rate as other Specialized High Schools. BTHS serves an increasingly large student body year after year. This should merit increased funding per student, not decreased. Fair is fair.  

 

This is an outrageous SCANDAL to discriminate against Brooklyn Tech's students to not give them funding they are LEGALLY ENTITLED TO. All the specialized high schools should be funded equally! What a disgusting travesty of justice!

 

Such blatant inequity in funding is appalling.

 

This amazing school, admission based on MERIT, and merit alone, determined by a single test, and not someone's wealth, influence and connections, where you get in not by the will of the parent but by the will and ability of the student, regardless of where they came from or how much money their families have, this school is getting short-changed…unbelievable.

 

I'm signing because my school shouldn't be supported less than any other school.

 

I am a junior at Brooklyn Technical High School and after being here for 3 years, I've experienced, firsthand, how underfunded our school is. So many extracurricular activities have been put on the back burner just because the school simply did not have the money to support it. 

 

Articles appeared in the Wall Street JournalPetition Demands More City Funding for Brooklyn Tech

at DNAinfoGive Brooklyn Tech its Fair Share of State Funding: Parents and Students

and at SchoolbookParents Say Brooklyn Tech Feels Like 'Ugly Stepchild' of Specialized Schools

Parents, students, staff, and alumni testified at Panel for Educational Policy meetings. The Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams demanded equally funding for Brooklyn Schools. 

I wrote the following at Huffington Post:

Monitoring the Mayor’s Purse Strings

 

Shame on the City

Lack of Mayoral Control

 

Righting Wrongs in NYC

RESOLUTION

The Mayor bumped up lowest funded schools to 87% in the 2016/17 school year and then up to 90% in the 2017/18 school year.

 

And the State decided the Mayor needed to be more transparent in funding reporting, tying that to a year's extension of mayoral control. 

UPDATE JUNE 2017

The Mayor changed his mind and decided not to give schools more money for the 2017/18 school year:

https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20170614/fort-greene/fair-student-funding-formula-state-city-aid-shortfall