The November financial plan includes an additional $386 million for the Board of Education over the adopted budget level. The plan more accurately reflects funding included in the state budget, which was adopted subsequent to the city budget. The financial plan now assumes current year BOE spending will total $10.46 billion, which would be an increase of 8.7 percent over the $9.63 billion spent last year. The additional funds have allowed BOE to increase its full-time pedagogical staff by over 4,500 positions since last Spring. This will be BOE's third straight year of substantial real budget growth.
The November plan includes an estimate of intergovernmental aid increases this year of about $300 million from the state and $80 million from the federal government. This includes $109 million in state and federal categorical grants to reduce class sizes in grades K-3. The plan allocates an additional $55 million of unrestricted state aid to reduce class sizes in middle and high schools as part of the effort to end social promotion. BOE expects smaller class sizes to improve academic performance and therefore reduce the number of students at risk of failing to meet promotion standards. The $164 million in class size reduction funds are carried for every year of the four-year financial plan.
The additional state aid includes $63 million for teacher salaries and $17 million in increased grants for textbooks, software, hardware, and library materials. The $63 million in teacher support aid restores a grant that BOE traditionally received from the state each year through 1998 but did not receive in 1999.
The plan also includes $24 million for each year in state and city funds for intensive English language instruction. These resources are intended to enable students with limited English proficiency to meet new standards and pass the Regents English exams.
Finally, the financial plan allocates $41 million this year in state and federal aid for low-performing schools identified by the state as Schools Under Registration Review. Efforts to turn around these schools in the current year include an extended school day and smaller class sizes in grades 4 and 5. Only $5 million of this $41 million has been added to the budget for future years.
For more information about education funding, contact Robert Weiner, a senior budget and policy analyst at IBO, at (212) 442-0332.