Fast Facts

• “The model for using property taxes to finance schools, police, fire, and other services is no longer sustainable.” –Stephanie Miner, (D) Mayer of Syracuse.

New York’s Constitution requires the establishment of public schools, but does not commit the state to any educational standard.

“…the Court of Appeals held in 1982 1982 [Board of Education, Levittown Union Free School District v Nyquistthat the then-current statutory provisions for allocation of state aid to school districts violated neither the “free common schools” provision of Article XI, Section 1, nor the equal protection clauses of either the state or federal Constitutions, even though they resulted in substantially disparate per-capita expenditures for education from one district to another.

• In a 2003 New York State Court of Appeals decision [Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) v. State of New York], the Court found that a “high school education is now all but indispensable” to prepare students for competitive employment and civic engagement. It held that the State Constitution requires that the State must provide “a meaningful high school education, one which prepares them to function productively as civic participants.” — Michael A. Rebell, NYSBA Government, Law and Policy Journal, Summer 2011, Vol 13, No. 1.

• According to the most recent data from The Empire Center for Public Policy, the average median teacher pay in the 100 most generous school districts in New York State is $115,430 per year, and in the hundred lowest, it’s $49,894. So teachers in the less wealthy districts make on average 43% of what teachers in the wealthier districts earn.

The 1967 draft Constitution sought to bring equity to school finance by a provision calling for “…equality of educational opportunity…to…all the people of the state…”, by providing that “…the legislature shall provide necessary programs to develop the educational potential of each person…” and by specifying aspects of the educational aid formula designed to be more redistributive. –Robert D. Stone, Decision 1997, Constitutional Change in New York.

• “The state tests are tied to consequences for districts, schools and teachers as well as students. Districts are adding on benchmark, practice and interim tests, and that’s how they get these multiplying and ballooning requirements. That’s why the Council of the Great City Schools found that [U.S.] students are taking 113 standardized tests in grades K through 12.” – Anya Kamenetz, NPR, “The Past, Present and Future of High Stakes Testing,” January 22, 2015.