Subcommittee on State Aid


Jean C. Stevens



Development of Regents 2007-08 Proposal on State Aid to School Districts


February 24, 2006


2 and 5






Issue for Discussion


Does the Subcommittee members concur with the preliminary directions for the Regents 2007-08 State Aid proposal?


Reason(s) for Consideration


Review of policy.


Proposed Handling


This question will come before the Subcommittee on State Aid at its March meeting.


Procedural History


The Regents prepare a State Aid proposal to the Legislature and Governor each year.  This year’s development began in February 2006 when the Subcommittee discussed the Executive’s budget recommendations on State Aid for 2006-07.


Background Information


The attached Preliminary Directions document is provided to the Regents Subcommittee to determine whether to continue the direction of the Regents proposal for the past three years.  It also poses some focus areas for further development for the 2007-08 Regents proposal.




Not applicable.


Timetable for Implementation


The Regents will continue development of their proposal throughout the summer.  Staff will present for approval a conceptual proposal in September 2006 and a detailed proposal in October 2006.

Regents Proposal on State Aid to School Districts

For School Year 2007-08

Preliminary Directions


The Regents State Aid proposal for 2007-08 will request the resources and funding system needed to provide adequate resources through a State and local partnership so that all students have the opportunity to achieve State learning standards.  This is the fourth year of a multi-year proposal recommending transition to a foundation program based on the costs of successful educational programs. 


          Four principles underlie the Regents proposal and its overarching goal to close the achievement gap.  They include:

  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—The 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.

Staff recommend that the Regents consider the following focus areas for their 2007-08 proposal.

Enact a Foundation Program.  The proposed foundation aid would consolidate a variety of existing aid programs and reflects regional cost differences, pupil needs and local ability to pay.  The foundation level is based on the cost of educating students in successful school districts. 


Special Education Funding. The Regents have proposed a simplified formula to help districts with the excess costs of educating students with disabilities, based on costs in successful school districts. 


Strengthen Accountability for the Use of Funds.   This focus area will examine ways to strengthen the education system to be able 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 and/or regulatory barriers to improving student achievement and make recommendations for removing them.


Strengthening Early Childhood Education


·       Continued support for increased access to pre-kindergarten programs.  Existing funding and service delivery models will be re-examined to ensure the most effective use of USNY resources.

·       Continued support for the phase-in of full-day kindergarten.


Regional Services


·       Authority for the big city school districts of Yonkers, Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo to contract with BOCES for certain services.

·       Examination of the role of regional services for other school districts.


Improving State Support for School Facilities


·       A simplified cost allowance for State Building Aid for school construction.


Policy Questions

  1. Should we stay the course by continuing the last three years’ proposal in 2007-08?
  2. What should be different in next year’s proposal?
  3. What should we develop or emphasize for 2007-08?

Possible Focus Areas

1.  Update the Regents Foundation Proposal

a.  Update the successful school district study and the basic foundation amount

b.  Update the Regents regional cost index


2.  Begin a discussion about a coordinated and cohesive system for preschool education for students with and without disabilities

a.  Ways to merge disparate systems over time

b.  Ways to promote improved preschool programming for all children

c.  Ways to promote more cost-effective service delivery


3.  Regional services


a. How to promote cost-effectiveness of regional services

b. How to maximize effective program delivery through regional services in order to build capacity to improve student achievement in big city districts