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Ossining Schools Fight For More Funding

Ossining Schools will hold a special Board of Education meeting on Wednesday to discuss a lack of funding from New York State Foundation Aid.
Ossining Schools will hold a special Board of Education meeting on Wednesday to discuss a lack of funding from New York State Foundation Aid. Photo Credit: File

OSSINING, N.Y. -- The Ossining Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m., to discuss unfreezing New York State Foundation Aid.

A panel consisting of experts in the legal and educational fields will discuss how parents can protect their child's constitutional right to a sound education.

The meeting will be at Claremont Elementary School, at 2 Claremont Road

The school district also released a flier promoting the event that featured the "Top 10 School Aid Facts" which were:

  • NYS was sued by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) for failing to provide a Sound Basic Quality Education (SBQE) to NYS students. The CFE won the case.
  • The state combined many complex school aid formulas and created Foundation Aid (FA). FA was enacted into law in 2007 to ensure that students have access to their constitutional right to a SBQE. The FA formula uses factors such as needs of students and a District’s ability to raise reve-nue to determine how much FA money the District should receive. Wealthier Districts should receive less FA money and less wealthier districts should receive more FA money.
  • The state froze FA at 2008 school aid levels. School Districts with decreasing enrollment and student needs have benefited from the freeze.
  • There are several wealthier districts that have received more FA than they should because FA has been frozen at 2008 amounts.
  • OUFSD has seen an increase in student enrollment since 2008. In fact, UFSD is ranked third among eight Districts in NYS that have experienced an increase in student enrollment and have been underfunded in Foundation Aid. There are approximately 700 NYS school districts; ninety-nine percent have seen no change or a decrease in enrollment.
  • If FA was not frozen and fully phased in, Ossining would have received an additional $36million over the past six years. The state also cut an additional $8 million in school aid from Ossining to reduce its budget gap. This reduction is called the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA).
  • Ossining is receiving only 55 percent of its FA and is the eighth lowest FA funded district in New York State. The average FA funding level is 70 percent; if Ossining received 70 percent of its FA it would’ve had an additional $14 million over the past 6 years.
  • Ossining has experienced a 37 percent increase in free and reduced price lunch applicants, a 27 percent increase in the number of students living in poverty and a 19 percent reduction in property value.
  • Ossining has had to cut over 100+ positions, modified sports, librarians, after-school programs, enrichment programs, etc. These cuts could have been avoided and if we received our fair share.
  • You can help fix this problem and shift a portion of the tax burden back to NYS. You can advocate to avoid future cuts by requesting that Foundation Aid be unfrozen for School Districts seeing in- creases in enrollment and are underfunded.

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