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Mayor de Blasio Announces Struggling Schools Will Receive Their "Fair Student Funding" for the First Time

May 4, 2015

De Blasio administration will boost struggling schools’ funding $34 million next year and $60 million every year after to hire guidance counselors, launch academic intervention programs, and add Advanced Placement classes

New resources to support all 130 Renewal Schools, Community Schools, and Persistently Failing Schools

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a significant investment of $60 million per year in additional funding to ensure struggling schools have the resources they need to succeed. Correcting years of inequity, this funding will raise all 130 Renewal Schools, Community Schools and Persistently Failing Schools to 100 percent of their ‘Fair Student Funding’ for the first time. That means they’ll have the resources they need ­­­­– and have long been owed – to serve English Language Learners, students with special needs, and other young people who need extra help to catch up. 

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement called on the State to fully fund all public schools adequately. While that historic deficit persists – with an estimated shortfall of $2.6 billion for this year alone for New York City – the de Blasio administration is taking steps to ensure schools that have the deepest challenges aren’t held back. Schools will be able to use the new funding to hire guidance counselors, bring on teachers for special academic intervention programs serving students who have fallen behind, extend the school day, or add advanced placement classes. To qualify for funding, schools must submit detailed plans for approval that demonstrate precisely how the new funds will be spent and how they will advance key metrics like attendance, credit accumulation, test scores and on-time graduation rates. 

These new resources are above and beyond the $150 million committed in the Renewal Schools initiative and the Community School expansion, which are also increasing services at each of these schools.

“We’ve put real resources and real accountability in place to give students, teachers and communities at struggling schools a path to success. But we don’t want them fighting the decades-old headwind of underfunding at the same time. These new investments will make a real difference: more AP classes, more guidance counselors, extra tutors, and schools open longer. We have a plan for these schools’ success and we’re going to make sure they have the tools to turn around and raise student achievement,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“Lifting up our schools requires real resources – and that is what we are committed to delivering. Through this individualized approach, we’ll put more guidance counselors in schools, extend the day for our most struggling students and train teachers better so they can best teach our children. By building out the tool kit for our historically struggling schools, I know we’ll see real results as we work to improve student outcomes at every school across the city,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

Historically, schools were provided with resources based primarily on the size of their student body. The ‘Fair Student Funding’ formula was introduced almost a decade ago by the Department of Education to reflect the diversity of New York City’s student body, which includes many students who require extra support like English Language Learners, students with special needs, and students who have fallen behind. But without the funding promised in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement, most schools never got the extra resources they needed. Today’s announcement ensures all struggling schools have the full and fair resources they need.

Achieving Fair Student Funding

  • The Administration is investing $33.6 million in FY16 and $59.7 million in FY17 and every year thereafter to provide additional funds for schools most in need.  
  • All 130 Renewal schools, Persistently Failing schools, and Community Schools will be brought to 100 percent of their Fair Student Funding recommendation within two years. The average Renewal School will see $250,000 in additional annual funding.
  • The minimum amount any school can receive will be raised from 81 percent to 82 percent of the Fair Student Funding formula. These changes will impact approximately 400 schools and 252,000 students. 

Rigorous Oversight of School Spending Plans

  • Schools must provide a robust plan for strategic use of the new funding to achieve concrete gains in metrics like attendance, credit accumulation and on-time graduation.
  • Plans could include hiring academic intervention services teachers to help students catch up and adding college readiness programs, guidance counselors and programming.
  • Plans for uses of these additional funds will require approval from each school’s superintendent.

Unprecedented Support to Turn Around Struggling Schools

  • By this September, all 94 Renewal Schools will be transformed into Community Schools, have an additional hour of instruction every day, increase professional development in key areas like student writing, and launch a summer learning program – all part of their comprehensive Renewal Plan with concrete targets in student achievement.

“We must give our students every chance at success and this critical investment will do just that. This important funding will go a long way towards giving students in struggling schools better opportunities by hiring more counselors or providing more alternative programs. Our students are worth it,” said Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito.

“An investment in our children’s education is an investment in the future of our city,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “I applaud Mayor de Blasio for taking our schools seriously and listening to parents, teachers, and community members about the need to reduce classroom size, support English Language Learners and students with disabilities. Every child – regardless of zip code – deserves access to a quality education.”

“Our children’s schools need fair and equitable funding,” said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee and the parent of a New York City public school student. “Thank you Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Budget Director Dean Fuleihan for recognizing this important need in funding our schools, and supporting the $1.6 billion dollar increase in New York State funding in education funding with this important city initiative.”

“Where Albany has failed to support our struggling schools, Mayor de Blasio has stepped up. For the first time, New York City’s 130 Renewal Schools, Community Schools and Persistently Low-Achieving Schools will be fully funded with resources they need to become successful. This year, and in subsequent years, recurring funding will be integral to ensure that our young people have the tools and skill to compete in the 21st century economy,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“Ensuring that schools succeed takes adequate funding and I applaud the Mayor for committing to provide struggling schools with resources that will enable schools to cut class sizes, hire guidance counselors, and give students the assistance they need,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
“I am glad Mayor de Blasio is doing his best to see that we do right by our children and get them the educational resources they need to succeed, especially when the state still owes our schools billions. Every child in New York City deserves access to a quality education and I applaud the Mayor for making that goal a priority,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris.

“Research has shown that all children, and especially those who attend our most challenged schools, need access to a range of services beyond the classroom to foster their success. We applaud the Chancellor’s forward thinking initiative to ensure that children in the Renewal Schools get services such as health screenings, extracurricular activities, counseling, mentors and family programs, according to their needs. Teachers College is proud to be a partner in this effort,” said Nancy Streim, Associate Vice President for School and Community Partnerships, Teachers College at Columbia University.

“We have been saying for years that schools should get their ‘fair share’ of funds based on the needs of the students they serve, not on some cookie-cutter approach based on enrollment. Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña share that vision, and are reworking the system so our struggling schools can offer smaller classes, extra instruction, and programs tailored to students’ specific needs. By focusing our resources this way, these schools will finally get the tools they need to help their students,” said Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers.

“While others are focused on criticizing schools with the greatest challenges, Mayor de Blasio is staying true to strategies that work by providing essential supports and resources for students in these schools,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education. “Most importantly, with today’s announcement the Mayor is prioritizing equity, something that has long been denied for the students in these schools. This funding along with extended learning time and other proposed strategies will allow schools to move closer to the full package of reforms that is essential to making them successful.”

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio and DOE Chancellor Fariña for their continued commitment to supporting schools in communities that need it the most,” said Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director, Make the Road New York. “As we launch our own community school program in Bushwick this month, we know firsthand that this level of investment and support can catalyze change not only for students but our communities as well.”

“This is a clean break from the hedge fund-driven policies of abandoning struggling schools and leaving them to fail. Mayor de Blasio is making a major down payment on supporting schools and giving them the resources they need to succeed. There is no magic bullet to improving struggling schools, and we are glad this Mayor has taken the course to support all aspects of teaching and learning, and diverging from high stakes testing as a path to improvement,” said Jonathan Westin, Executive Director of New York Communities for Change.

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