Community Schools and Schools in Receivership
Dear Legislator, As your constituent who cares deeply about public education, I support the expansion and continued investment in community schools, which serve as a learning model that organizes the resources of the community to promote student success. Community schools have been successful in closing the achievement gap by providing students with critical academic and health care services.
The 2020-21 New York State Executive Budget proposal contains a provision that requires school districts to set aside $300 million from Foundation Aid for community school conversion — this represents an increase of $50 million over last year’s funding level. I urge you to maintain the $250 million in existing community school set-aside Foundation Aid funding and provide new funding of $100 million in Categorical Aid. By providing future funding in Categorical Aid, the Legislature can better track the results of this investment and help ensure stable and consistent funding to these schools. The executive budget proposal also increases the number of schools that can access community school funding to 440 and includes Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools.
The executive budget proposal does not address additional funding for schools that are on the receivership list. Schools that are in receivership serve our highest need populations i.e. undocumented students, English language learners, students with special needs, students living in poverty and homeless students. There are currently 43 receivership schools in 11 school districts. These school districts are now owed $1.5 billion in Foundation Aid, have suffered from years of chronic underfunding and have had to make difficult decisions regarding staffing, programs and services. I urge the Legislature to restore funding to the 2015-16 level of $75 million for these schools as a means to support their school turn-around efforts. I would also urge you to include the provisions contained in S.5602 (Mayer)/A.8010 (Benedetto) in the enacted budget. This measure would create a model policy to convert schools in receivership to community schools and provide a stable structure that encourages highly qualified educators to work in these schools.
Thank you for your consideration of these very important issues. I respectfully ask that you bring up these issues with your conference and I would greatly appreciate a response to this letter. Sincerely,
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