December 15, 2016
Today we wanted to update you on Foundation Aid
Foundation Aid is like the new Gap Elimination Adjustment: it’s a way schools are being underfunded that can hopefully be corrected with pressure from the public.
Foundation Aid is the base amount of money that school districts receive to run their programs and facilities or to “operate.” If you think about your own paycheck, then your base salary would be the dollars that you receive prior to any additions you may get as benefits. There are additional aids that school districts qualify for, but foundation aid is the largest component of these aides.
Foundation Aid is supposed to ensure that all NYS schools, regardless of wealth, get enough funding to provide students with a solid education. It is also supposed to establish predictable aid so districts can plan/budget efficiency. But Foundation Aid was “frozen” in 2009 and has yet to be fully funded or “unfrozen.”
Due to the GEA and the freezing of the Foundation Aid formula, our districts have not received the dollars that they should have been getting all along. Again, thinking of your paycheck, this would be like having your salary frozen and then being forced to also give back some from your paycheck. Finally, after several years of this, you no longer have to give up money, so you get back to what you originally earned, but now it is several years later. You not only lost, forever, those dollars that were taken away, but you are now behind those who didn’t have either of these things happen. In Monroe County the dollars that our districts should have received had the Foundation Aid formula not been frozen is $161,745,803.
For just WICSD, that loss, since 2007-2008 has totaled over 55 million dollars.
Just based on this year’s underfunding, WICSD lost $5,181,933. That’s more money than WICSD pays for pensions, unemployment and workers comp-combined. That could have saved a $110,000 household $427.
Foundation Aid is designed to ensure that all children have an equal opportunity to a solid education, regardless of their wealth. Please reach out to our local representatives and let them know: Foundation Aid should be unfrozen to allow an even playing field for NYS kids.