Midstate School Finance Consortium . 07/2004.

It's Vital School Aid Reform Adhere To These Principles

July 29, 2004

New York State Legislature
Albany, NY 12247

Dear Senator/Assemblyperson:

While the Midstate School Finance Consortium (MSFC) is disappointed that a new school aid formula has not yet been adopted by the Legislature and Governor, we expect that efforts to find a legislative solution may continue. And while we would prefer to see such a solution, rather than intervention by the Courts, it is vital that any school aid reform adhere to these principles:

1.

It treats every child the same, no matter where they live

2.

It treats every property taxpayer the same, no matter where they live

3.

It is transparent – easy to understand and manage

4.

It is predictable – allowing schools to plan from year to year

Before voting to accept any new school aid formula, we would encourage you to ask whether it is consistent with these principles.

This issue is not simply about more money. 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 and inconsistent with the dictates of the Court of Appeals decision in the CFE case.

The CFE decision has presented us with a real opportunity to repair the decades-long inequities in public school funding. The 280+ school districts of the MSFC strongly urge you seize that opportunity.

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

Sincerely,

Brandon Gordon
Executive Director
bgordon@midstateonline.org