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State aid falls short for high-needs schools, new report says

A new analysis shows that 81 percent of New York’s high-needs schools are not on track to receive the full allocation they are entitled to as part of the settlement in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case.

The study, released Monday by the Alliance for Quality Education, shows that the shortfall most severely affects 205 school districts – including Buffalo and Jamestown, which are highlighted in the report – that are still owed a total of $2.8 billion.

The alliance has been fighting for years to recover the money owed to schools as part of the settlement in a court ruling that found New York does not provide many poor students with their constitutional right to a basic education.

In 2007, the state came up with a new funding formula to comply with the court ruling and did so for two years. But then it stopped making payments during the recession. During that fiscal crisis, many schools also sustained dramatic cuts that essentially reversed the effects of the payout from the lawsuit.

The alliance now wants the state to come up with a plan to come into compliance with the court settlement, gradually increasing aid to the affected districts over the course of no more than three years.