New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David C. Banks announced proposed improvements to the Fair Student Funding (FSF) formula for the 2023-2024 school year in an effort to increase equity in the formula. The improvements being announced today are in direct response to the recommendations made by the Fair Student Funding Working Group in November 2022. The FSF formula funds approximately two-thirds of community district school budgets and specifically funds schools based on their students’ needs.
New York City public schools will propose the following changes:
- An additional weight for students in temporary housing to schools serving these students, including recent asylum-seeking students.
- An additional weight for schools that have higher concentrations of students with needs, including students in poverty, students with disabilities, and English language learners.
“From day one of our administration, we put family voices front and center in our policy and programs. This has allowed us to make real change by working together to utilize different backgrounds and ideals,” said Mayor Adams. “Thanks to the work of our Fair Student Funding Working Group, we are prioritizing the needs and voices of students who have been long forgotten, and this is only the beginning of turning 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 New York City public schools’ commitment to working directly with our communities and putting into place genuine change to support our schools and our kids,” said DOE Chancellor Banks. “This was complicated work they took on, and I am so appreciative of the work of the Fair Student Funding Working Group and co-chairs Dia Bryant and Jasmine Gripper and am thrilled to be moving these recommendations forward.”
Building on another one of the challenges the working group identified, New York City public schools will also be enhancing the budget appeals process to ensure it is responsive to schools’ special education staffing needs. Finally, New York City public schools will be focusing intentionally on increasing transparency and community engagement regarding the FSF formula and school budgets more broadly.
The proposed weight changes will go to the Panel for Educational Policy for review.
In July 2022, the working group convened in response to Chancellor Banks’ call for public engagement to examine 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, conducting community engagement sessions, and considering specific policy improvements and their impact on New York City schools and communities. In November 2022, the working group released their report for consideration by the chancellor.
More specifically, New York City public schools are recommending these changes:
Adding a students in temporary housing weight to the FSF formula:
- This weight is a groundbreaking shift in how schools allocate resources to public school students, with this specific focus on supporting students who reside in temporary housing.
- This funding will support students in asylum-seeking families who are living in temporary housing — providing additional resources to the schools that are taking them in.
- This change is expected to drive approximately $45 million in funding, impacting students in temporary housing across all five boroughs.
Adding a concentration weight to the FSF formula:
- Schools that serve higher concentrations of students with needs (such as students living in poverty, students with disabilities, and English language learners) may require additional resources to provide high-quality educational opportunities to their students.
- This change is expected to drive over $45 million in funding to schools in all five boroughs and would impact over 300 schools across the city serving the highest concentration of neediest students.
Ensuring the budget appeals process is responsive to special education programming needs:
- Throughout the engagement sessions, a significant focus of the working group was the critical need for schools to be able 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 supporting schools in meeting these needs.
Increasing budget transparency for families, students, and the public:
- From the working group and their community engagement sessions, New York City public schools heard concerns over a lack of transparency and understanding in how to fund schools, how the formula works, and what funds are available at the school level.
New York City public schools are now taking steps to address this by improving transparency around school budgets and its own budget through additional, more accessible information available on its website and through its own external engagement process.