Online data tool allows users to explore how New York school districts are investing resources

by | Sep 20, 2022 | Press Release

New federal funding sources present opportunity to support students with the greatest needs and invest in educational equity 

NEW YORK – The Education Trust–New York today relaunched its New York School Funding online data tool that allows users to explore whether school districts across the state are equitably distributing resources to support students with the greatest needs. 

Using publicly available data from a state law that requires all 673 New York school districts receiving foundation aid to report their 2021-22 school-level budgets, the data tool – available at nyschoolfunding.org – allows users to see how schools and districts allocate resources, and whether students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities, and multilingual learners are receiving the resources they need to succeed.  

The tool allows users to:  

  • See how much funding individual schools receive and how they spend the monies; 
  • Explore whether large districts (with at least 10 elementary/middle or high schools) are providing the most resources to the schools with the greatest student needs;  
  • Compare funding between schools with different or similar student demographics;  
  • Explore how school funding and student performance are related; and 
  • See how spending has changed over a four-year period.  

Equal is not the same as equitable, and schools with significant need require greater funding than other schools. This is especially true in the current climate, as the ongoing pandemic and systemic racism continue to exacerbate pre-existing inequities and take a disproportionate toll on students who were previously underserved by the education system.  

Yet among the state’s Big 5 school districts, several are failing to ensure funding is reaching the schools with the greatest needs.

Among the data findings at the elementary/middle school level: 

  • In New York City, the district spends $6,187 more per student at its schools with the greatest needs than those with the least needs. 
  • In Buffalo, the district spends $4,396 more per student at its schools with the greatest needs than those with the least needs. 
  • In Rochester, the district spends $632 less per student at schools with the greatest needs than those with the least needs. 
  • In Syracuse, the district spends $651 less per student at schools with the greatest needs than those with the least needs. 
  • In Yonkers, the district spends $608 more per student at schools with the greatest needs than those with the least needs. 

Among the data findings at the high school level: 

  • In New York City, the district spends $6,187 more per student at its schools with the greatest needs than those with the least needs. 
  • In Buffalo, the district spends $4,396 more per student at its schools with the greatest needs than those with the least needs. 
  • In Rochester, the district spends $632 less per student at schools with the greatest needs than those with the least needs. 

Note: Syracuse and Yonkers do not have enough high schools to conduct a similar analysis of spending at that grade level. 

The tool comes as school districts across New York are receiving an additional $8.9 billion in funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021, money that is intended to supplement school budgets and support programs and services to help students who have been impacted by the pandemic both academically and social emotionally. 

School leaders can use the information in the tool to see how districts are already investing resources, and identifying areas of need that warrant additional funding. 

“The money districts are receiving through the American Rescue Plan Act offers a historic opportunity for our state to invest in more equitable outcomes for our students,” said Dia Bryant, executive director of The Education Trust–New York. “School leaders need to act with urgency to ensure these resources are immediately used to ensure that students have access supports such as high-quality afterschool programming, rigorous coursework that will prepare them for postsecondary success, and opportunities to make up for the interrupted instruction experienced during the pandemic.” 

Learn more and explore the data at nyschoolfunding.org