The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


James A. Kadamus


Subcommittee on State Aid


Legislative Advocacy for Regents 2004-05 Proposal on State Aid to School Districts


January 28, 2004




Policy Implementation


Goal 2






With approval of your aid proposal at your December 2003 meeting, attached for your consideration are some materials on your 2004-05 State Aid Proposal and a draft plan for advocacy for your consideration.


Also available at your meeting will be the full proposal with technical supplement, a pamphlet with highlights of the proposal and a briefing on the Governor’s budget recommendations for school year 2004-05.  Under separate cover, I will provide you with talking points and other materials to help with your advocacy.




Advocacy Plan For Regents 2004-05 State Aid Proposal


The Regents State Aid proposal for 2004-05 implements a new, multi-year approach to State and local funding of public schools designed to close the student achievement gap.  It proposes a Foundation Formula for the distribution of State Aid that assists school districts with the costs of general education instruction, to be phased in over a seven-year period.  The goal of the Regents proposal is:


The State's system of funding for education should provide adequate resources through a State and local partnership so that all students have the opportunity to achieve the State’s learning standards, including resources for extra time and help for students.


            This new approach to State Aid has four basic components:


District’s State Aid = [Foundation Cost  X Pupil Needs Index X Regional Cost Index] - Expected Local Contribution


§         The Foundation Cost is the cost of providing general education services in New York schools, measured by determining the instructional costs of districts that are performing well. 

§         The Pupil Needs Index recognizes the added costs of providing extra time and extra help for students to succeed in school.  It is measured by the number of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch and students living in geographically sparse areas of the State. 

§         The Regional Cost Index is an adjustment that recognizes regional variations in purchasing power around the State.  It is measured based on wages of non-school professionals in each region of the State. 

§         The Expected Local Contribution is an amount school districts are expected to spend as their fair share of the total cost of general education.  It is measured by multiplying the district tax base by an expected tax rate adjusted by district income per child.  The Expected Local Contribution is not a mandated tax rate, but a way of determining a local share in order to calculate State Aid.


Other aids that are proposed separately from Foundation Aid include: expense-based aids (Building and Transportation); aid for pupils with disabilities; Regional Services Aid for the Big 5 districts; aid for career and technical education; and other categorical aids (e.g., Universal Pre-K, BOCES Aid, Bilingual Grants/Limited English Proficient Student Aid, Textbook Aid, Library Materials Aid, and other programs).


In the first year, Exhibit A shows that an $880 million increase is proposed, with $508 million of this for Foundation Aid.  Exhibit B shows that when the proposal is fully implemented, it will provide $14.35 billion in Foundation Aid, a $5.98 billion increase in Foundation Aid over 2003-04.  Over time, this flow of aid to high need districts will have a significant impact in closing the student achievement gap.


Exhibit C shows that, in 2004-05, the first year of the Regents proposal, 84 percent of the increase in school aid would go to high need school districts to close the achievement gap.  Exhibits D and E show the share of computerized aids for school districts grouped by Need-Resource Capacity category in the first year of the proposal and with full implementation.


Exhibit B
Regents Foundation Aid Proposal
New York State
(all figures in millions)

  Base Year Funding Regents Foundation Aid Change from Base

2003-2004 School Year
$8,370 ----- -----

2004-2005 School Year
----- $8,878 $508

2010-11 School Year
-----  $14,350  $5,980


Advocacy Plan



·        Long Term: Passage of the proposal during the 2004 legislative session.

·        Short Term: Support for the proposal from the Governor (Division of the Budget), the leadership of the Assembly and Senate, and the chairs of the education and financial committees.

·        Interim Checks:

-        Inclusion of concepts in the Executive budget proposal

-        Introduction of legislation

-        Bill reported out of Committee and progressing through the legislative process

-        Letters of support from educational associations, parents and the business community


1.      SED Advocacy

·        Involved Regents are:

-        State Aid Advocacy Task Force

-        Subcommittee on State Aid

-        EMSC-VESID Committee

-        All Regents


·        Involved staff:

-        Commissioner Mills, Chief Operating Officer, Counsel and Chief of Staff, EMSC Deputy, Coordinator of School Operations and Management, Director of Education Finance and State Aid Work Group coordinator. Advice is sought from NYSED’s Director of Communications and Legislative Coordinator.   SED’s State Aid Work Group and the Legislative Coordinating Team provide periodic advice.


2.      Advocacy Information

·        Regents proposal with technical supplement

·        Pamphlet

·        Briefing on Governor’s budget recommendations

·        Talking points

·        Frequently asked questions and suggested answers

·        Articles (education association journals)


3.      Anticipated sources of support and how they will be engaged

·        Support

-        School superintendents, principals and business officials, including the Midstate School Finance Consortium

-        Presidents of boards of education

-        Student advocacy groups such as the Educational Priorities Panel and the Emergency Coalition for Universal Pre-K

-        Conference of Large City Boards of Education

-        Parents interested in extra time and help opportunities for their children

-        Directors of special education


·        Engagement

-        Regents advocacy with local legislators and statewide leaders

-        Public forum with Regents

-        The State Education Department’s Educational Finance Advisory Group

-        Widespread use of a pamphlet and articles with highlights of the proposal

-        Participation in meetings held by associations and advocacy groups

-        Correspondence


4.      Key Legislators

1.                  Senate

Temporary President and Majority Leader 

Minority Leader 

Chair, Senate Education Committee, selected Education Committee members

Ranking Minority Member, Senate Education Committee

Chair, Senate Finance Committee 

Chair of Senate Select Commission on Disabilities


2.                  Assembly


Majority Leader 

Minority Leader 

Chair, Assembly Education Committee, selected Education Committee members 

Ranking Minority Member, Assembly Education Committee 

Chair, Assembly Ways and Means Committee 

Chair of the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities

Chair and Co-chair, Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Legislative Caucus

Chair, Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force


5.      Governor's and Other Executive Offices


6.      Legislative advocacy throughout the legislative process


Significant events:

§         CFE Study on the Cost of an Adequate Education (February 28, 2004)

§         Governor’s Commission on Education Reform (March 1, 2004)

§         Education Finance Research Consortium Symposium on School Finance (March 4, 2004)

§         State budget (April 2004)

§         Final date for State solution (July 30, 2004)


Reach out and participate in statewide solutions:

§         Sound basic education task force with educational associations, convened by CFE

§         School facilities task force with educational associations, convened by CFE

§         Accountability task force with educational associations, convened by CFE

§         Discussions of similarities and differences of different aid proposals: Regents, Midstate, NYS Association of School Business Officials, Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Education Conference Board, Governor’s and legislative budgets