May 10, 2007

NYC schools get lots of new money

According to the NY Daily News:

Nearly 700 underfunded schools will see an influx of $110 million next year under the city's new student funding formula, officials announced.

As principals across the city began scrutinizing their 2007-08 budgets yesterday, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein laid out specifics of the new "weighted" system designed to create more equity.

"For too long, some schools and some students have not had their fair share of resources, and we as a city can do better than that," Klein said.

Under the plan, each student will be assigned a dollar value depending on grade level - from $3,788 to $3,902 - and then extra cash depending on special needs like poverty, special education and ability to speak English.

"There's always so much more you can do if you have more funds, so this is almost an answer to prayers," said Bronx Public School 53 Principal Collin Wolfe, who was thrilled to see his budget grow by about $440,000 for next year.


Isn't that charming. Warms your heart to see that these schools will be getting much more funding to improve education.

My Prediction: No increase in student achievement at all.

5 comments:

Independent George said...

I agree that gross funding was never the issue with regard to achievement, but tying funding to students seems long overdue; naive as I am, that's how I'd long assumed funding already was handled. Obviously, the devil is in the details with regards to the 'extra' funding, but that also makes perfect sense to me. I wish they would have carried the idea to it to its logical end and allowed school choice as well, but its a start.

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MassParent said...

The devil, though, is in the details. Have you looked at the data behind the NY funding disparities and the regulations being applied to correct them?

In Mass, there are real funding disparities in the existing formulas - but not the disparities you'd expect to find. Comparable towns receive different levels of state support. But even getting the measures of what are comparable towns, what are comparable student populations, etc, isn't easy. And having studied some of the Mass formulas in some detail, I don't hold high expectations for what other states have been doing, or what they might choose to do to correct perceived problems.

Independent, the concept of having funds follow the child is appealing, but rigid adherence can cause as much havoc as giving some breathing room to localities to make choices. For example, suppose you live in a town that is marginally able to maintain its own local elementary school, but can only do so if town meeting votes to approve higher funding than the state deems necessary. Should that town then also have to pay higher tuition than a larger neighboring town when both towns send kids to the same charter school? Should the town also have to pay a higher tuition than neighboring towns for a regional high school? Mass regulations current effectively do that, in part because they deem any school with less than 300 kids inefficient, and in part, because the DOE tried to "reduce disparities" of funds spent on different kids from the same town.

There have been real problems in some large school districts, where some select schools in good neighborhoods get more city funds than other schools. The NY changes intent is to correct that, including acknowledging that low SES, limited english, etc, make it more costly for a school to bring a group of kids up to state standards. Ken disagrees with that premise, believing the current curriculum and teaching methods are inefficient compared with his favored methods, that is, he's got a silver bullet. I think even if he's more or less right, more difficult settings still will require more resources to achieve equal outcomes for all schools, as mandated by No Child Left Behind.

MikeZ said...

The big question is, how is the money going to be spent? Here in California, we vote billion-dollar bond issues every 4 years or so, and I don't have to tell you how things are going in the classroom. Then I found out that this money only goes to building new buildings, not to teacher hiring, salaries, or supplies.

Still, since it's always worked in the past that throwing more money at the problem makes it go away, there's no reason why it shouldn't work just as well in NY.