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Center for Policy Research

Policy Brief

Education Finance Reform in New York: Calculating the Cost of a 'Sound Basic Education' in New York City

William Duncombe, Anna Lukemeyer & John Yinger

C.P.R. Policy Brief No. 28

February 2004

John M. Yinger

John M. Yinger


Introduction

In June 2003 the New York State Court of Appeals altered the education-finance landscape with its ruling in Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. New York. This ruling called for “[r]eforms to the current system of financing school funding” designed to ensure “that every school in New York City would have the resources necessary for providing the opportunity for a sound basic education.” This ruling addressed a wide range of issues, but also declared that “the funding level necessary to provide City students with the opportunity for a sound basic education is an ascertainable starting point.”

This policy brief addresses the question: How can this funding level be determined? Any calculation of the cost of a “sound basic education” must begin with a definition of this term, that is, with a decision about the educational standard every district is supposed to reach. This is a decision to be made by lawmakers, with input from the Court of Appeals. The authors begin with an overview of the issues that arise in making this decision, and then turn to the main concern of this policy brief, namely, how to calculate the cost of a sound basic education once it has been defined by lawmakers.

The Center for Policy Research Policy Brief series is a collection of essays on current public policy issues in aging; urban and regional studies; education finance and accountability; public finance; social welfare, poverty, and income security; and related research done by or on behalf of the Center for Policy Research at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.


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