On Tuesday, an Albany County state Supreme Court justice ruled against Jamestown and seven other plaintiffs from “small city school districts” who contended that the state has failed to adequately fund them, in light of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit that almost a decade ago found that New York City schools had been systemically shortchanged when it came to state aid.
That decision led to changes in the way per-student costs in the city system are calculated. And it led to the use of a Foundation Aid approach, which essentially laid out a per-student formula for funding all of the state’s schools.
But Jamestown and the seven other small city schools said their schools, which served a lot of underprivileged students, were still being shortchanged.
Acting Justice Kimberly O’Connor disagreed and part of her ruling focused on the court’s reluctance to impinge on legislative budget decisions.
O’Connor found that the legislature can adjust school funding as needed and the Foundation Aid levels, that were created at the end of the Pataki Administration, don’t need to represent a minimum amount.
She also concluded that reforms designed to address educational inequities don’t have to be strictly financial.
In addition to Jamestown, the seven other districts involved in the lawsuit are Utica, Niagara Falls, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Port Jervis, and Mt. Vernon.
Lawyers for the districts that sued are planning an appeal.