School advocacy groups are arguing that as a result of forced budget cuts, students in wealthier school districts in New York State now receive as much as $8,600 more per student than a student in a poor school district, according to an Alliance for Quality Education report obtained by Gannett.
At $20 billion a year, New York spends more on education per student than any other state. New York also also has one of the highest property taxes in the nation and about 60 percent of a homeowner’s tax bill goes to schools, Gannett reported.
But advocacy groups are arguing that as schools are forced to make dramatic cuts, the funding per student has grown hugely disproportionate and poor students suffer the most.
The 100 wealthiest districts spent an average of $27,707 per student in 2010-11, the most recent year for which state Education Department data are available. The 100 poorest districts’ average was $19,106 per student, according to the report.
Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education said the report exposes the mythology propagated amongst state elected officials that schools spend too much money.
“But we spend twice as much in some of the wealthy districts than in the poor districts,” Easton said. “We have two systems of education: one for the wealthy and one for the poor.”
But Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that more money into the state’s education fund has not led to better results.
Cuomo passed a law in 2011 capping education aid at the level of New Yorkers’ income growth over certain years, about $800 million. He also has proposed another 3 percent aid increase for next year, plus additional funds for fiscal stabilization and competitive grants.