Midstate School Finance Consortium . 06/2004.

MSFC Strongly Urges New School Aid Formula

June 8, 2004

New York State Legislature
Albany, NY 12247

Dear Senator/Assemblyperson:

The school aid reform proposals recently presented by the Governor, Senate, and Assembly are important steps that will likely determine the State’s approach to education funding for decades to come.

The Midstate School Finance Consortium (MSFC) is thankful for the direction the Governor and Legislature have taken to advance discussion about statewide, comprehensive school aid reform.

While it would be virtually impossible to address the CFE decision by the Court of Appeals without spending more money, more money alone will not remedy the current problem.

How increased investment in education is directed is of paramount importance. The State increased education aid dramatically in the late 1990’s, yet the gap between the wealthiest and poorest districts grew wider! It would be fiscally irresponsible to make that mistake again.

The 280+ school districts of the MSFC strongly urge you to ensure that every child receives the same funding starting point and that every taxpayer is treated fairly in a new school aid formula. This is the right way to fix the broken school aid formula. Unless both happen, it's not true statewide reform.

We strongly urge you to compromise on a new school aid formula that embodies the principles of equity, adequacy, simplicity, flexibility, and predictability.

Educational leaders must have the tools they need to meet the unique needs of their students and communities. The existing aid system does not and cannot accomplish this. Only a new system for all districts can provide the predictability, flexibility, simplicity, and equity that our children and taxpayers need and demand.

We appreciate your contribution to public education. Thank you for considering our views.

Sincerely,

Brandon Gordon
Executive Director
bgordon@midstateonline.org