The Fiscal Inequity Hezitorial
YONKERS, NY — March 31, 2019 — The New York State Legislature has moved positively in acknowledges issues heretofore not acknowledged. Laudable indeed, but still languishing from that which can be accomplished. In juxtaposition to what is, let us collectively balance it proportionally, equitably, and fiscally…
$12 million in Bullet Aid / One-shot;
$11 million in Foundation Aid intended to support high-needs districts / recurring; and
$4.5 million in reimbursement aid.
Total = $27.5 million
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Shortfalls to be corrected: $4 to $8 million in additional Foundation Aid
Yonkers Board of Education Budget Allocations must be reduced vis-a-vis the endlessly expanding unabated hiring in central office that has easily expanded by 30 percent under the aegis of Yonkers Superintendent of Schools Dr. Edwin Quezada. Insiders in the know advise that Quezada has every intention to continue his spending spree bonanza to pad central office with “his” cronies. Cost cuts are seemingly superfluous to his mindset. The Yonkers Board of Education Board of Trustees must deny Quezada his flamboyant demeanor and exact a prudent, fiscally sound, and affordable budgetary allocation as per the City of Yonkers (CoY) capacity. To wit, the Yonkers City Council must deliberate over the numerical/budgetary allocations presented by Quezada in future Budget Hearings that are sound in purpose and within CoY’s financial capacity.
The “heavy lifting” must now be engaged to correct and thereby correct equity in the Foundation Aid Formula. the present Foundation Aid Formula which uses synthetically weighted and truncated metrics that lead to maintaining, creating, and at minimum fostering inequities.
Yonkers present Foundation Aid Formulation is set at 52.8 percent and must be increased to 78 percent. The rationale is that there are specific school districts throughout the state who receive between $12 to $13,000 per student subsidy from New York State, whereas Yonkers receives $7,500 per student. The responsibility now rests on the broad shoulders of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano to solicit Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Mano-a-Mano for a revision to the antiquated and deleterious formula that has undermined CoY. No more children, parents, and teachers being dragged to Albany for a photo opportunity that demeans Yonkers, is a public embarrassment to Gov. Cuomo, and is a failed and abhorrent display of ineptitude since the game of “chicken” began some 20 years ago. Yonkers must be deliberate in explaining the failings of the formula for Yonkers and so many other communities throughout New York State. Lest anyone is desirous to continue to delude themselves, it is after all about every student, at every school, in every municipality, in New York State.
Lastly, the funding formula is a contrivance of biases from the past that no longer serve New York State. Federal law is the guidepost by which equitable disbursement of funding must be emulated because it is fair and just. A concept long espoused by Assemblyman Nader Sayegh representing AD90.
Editor’s Note: I am most familiar with Yonkers circumstances, but am aware that similar issues and concerns have long plagued Mount Vernon, NY, Ossining, NY, Port Chester, NY, communities on Long Island, and communities along the New York State along the Canadian border, among many more municipalities. Speaking to the concerns facing Yonkers are similar to other communities and must be balanced without emotion, is devoid of bigotry, is prudently measured with respect to financial capacity and means, and relegated by each individual school population with respect to their unique circumstances.
It is all doable by every measure.
Identity politics must end! Solutions are long overdue.
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P.S. Slight revision appended on Monday, April 1st.