nysed seal                                






The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


James A. Kadamus


Subcommittee on State Aid


Preliminary Directions for Regents State Aid Proposal for 2005-06


August 23, 2004




Policy Development


Goal 2






This material is provided for your information.  Time will be available for questions following the joint meeting of the Regents EMSC-VESID Committee and the Subcommittee on State Aid, at which we will discuss your strategy for improving student performance and the accountability and fiscal integrity of school districts.


Attachment A             Preliminary Directions for the Regents Proposal on State Aid to School Districts for School Year 2005-06


Attachment B             Timeline for activities related to the development of the Regents State Aid proposal


Attachment C             Primer on the Laws of 2004 relating to State Aid to school districts, incorporating information from the newly enacted State budget






Attachment A


Preliminary Directions for the Regents Proposal on State Aid to School Districts for School Year 2005-06



The Regents State Aid proposal for 2005-06 will request the funding necessary to provide adequate resources so that all students have the opportunity to achieve State learning standards.  Additionally, this is the second year of a multi-year proposal recommending transition to a foundation formula based on the costs of successful educational programs. 


Four principles underlie the Regents proposal:

  1. Adequacy—Effective distribution across all districts will ensure adequate resources for acceptable student achievement.
  2. Equity—School funding will equalize differences in school districts’ fiscal capacity, pupil need and regional costs to maintain comparable levels of local effort in school districts across the State.
  3. Accountability—The education system will measure outcomes and use those measures to ensure that financial resources are used effectively.  As part of the Regents goal that education resources will be used or maintained in the public interest, the Regents employ a two-prong strategy.  The Department will give greater flexibility to districts with acceptable student achievement and will encourage the most efficient and effective use of resources in districts not yet meeting State standards.
  4. Balance ¾The State should balance stability in funding and targeting aid to close student achievement gaps.  It should drive aid based on current needs, and use hold-harmless provisions to provide stability only for a reasonable period of time.

Staff recommend that the Regents consider the following focus areas for their 2005-06 proposal:

Adopt a Foundation Program.  The proposed foundation aid consolidates 29 existing aid programs and adjusts for regional cost differences, pupil needs and an expected local contribution for each school district, based on ability to pay.  The foundation level of funding is based on the cost of educating students in successful school districts.  This area will include options for promoting the foundation program.


Special Education Funding.  The Regents will explore options for improving the funding of special education in meetings around the State with educators and the public.  Participants will consider how funding can best support program goals of
improved student achievement and education of students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment.  Options include folding aid for special education into the foundation program or not, and for each option, whether to base aid on a count of students with disabilities or on measures, such as districtwide enrollment and poverty, outside the control of school districts.


Strengthen Accountability for the Use of Funds.   This focus area will examine ways to strengthen the education system to answer the question: How do we know if resources are well spent?  It will recommend continued support for state-of-the-art systems for processing State Aid and gathering and reporting information on students and resources.  It will recommend a strengthened State Education Department capacity to provide technical assistance to school districts in fiscal or programmatic crisis and to audit school districts.  It will explore statutory barriers to improving student achievement and make recommendations for removing them.


Continued Examination of Local Effort.  An aspect of fiscal accountability concerns whether localities contribute their fair share of education funding.  Additional State Aid will translate into improved student achievement only if it supplements, rather than replaces, local support for education.  For several years, the Regents have reviewed the status of local support for education around the State and considered the results in crafting State Aid recommendations.  A report to the Regents is planned for October.


Regional Services for the Big Five.  This focus area would explore programmatic options and funding schemes to allow our largest cities to benefit from regional approaches to professional development for teachers, instructional technology and career and technical education.  The goal would be to provide expanded program options and funding to allow city children to have similar educational opportunities as children attending suburban school districts.  This area will examine alternatives for allowing Buffalo, Yonkers, Syracuse and Rochester to purchase BOCES services and receive State Aid for a portion of the expense.  It will examine how to provide comparable aid for comparable services provided by the New York City school district.


Building Aid.  This focus area will examine options for improving the use of State Building Aid to close the student achievement gap.  It will examine options for simplifying cost allowances used to determine aid.  It will consider ways to improve the equitable and adequate distribution of aid, including options for “catch up.”  It will examine options for increasing efficiency in the use of State funds for school construction.


Schedule for Regents Meetings for Developing the

Regents State Aid Proposal for 2005-06



May 2004

Special education funding

Schedule of reports for developing the 2005-06 proposal

June 2004

Update on State budget (as available)

Reaffirm proposal goals

Education Finance Research Consortium: Synthesis of school finance symposium and update on Consortium

Schedule of reports for developing the 2005-06 proposal

July 2004

Compressed meeting (no item on State Aid)

August 2004

Meeting of Education Finance Advisory Group

September 2004

Meetings with educators and public forums on special education funding: Long Island (9/20/04); Rochester (9/23/04); New York City (9/27/04); and Albany (9/29/04)

September 2004

Assessing Progress: Reviewing legislative action in comparison with proposals (pending passage of the State budget)

Proposal preliminary directions

Primer presentation on State Aid

Schedule of reports for developing the 2005-06 proposal

October 2004

Meeting of Education Finance Advisory Group

October 2004

Update on local effort in support of education

Review proposal directions

Report on focus forums on special education funding

Schedule of reports for developing the 2005-06 proposal

November 2004

Meeting of Education Finance Advisory Group

November 2004

Review draft of conceptual proposal

Schedule of reports for developing the 2005-06 proposal

December 2004

Action on final proposal with the dollar amount recommended and the overall distribution of aid

Schedule of reports for developing the 2005-06 proposal

January 2005 – April 2005

Legislative advocacy