Middletown, Schenectady file civil rights complaint over school funding

The Middletown and Schenectady school districts have filed their anticipated federal complaint challenging the way school funding is given out in New York.

The complaint alleges that changes to the state’s Foundation Aid formula since 2007, the distribution of State Fiscal Stabilization Fund money and the state’s School Tax Relief (STAR) aid formula have resulted in more aid to mostly white districts and less to predominantly black and Latin districts like Middletown and Schenectady.

The two districts have been talking about filing a complaint since summer 2013. Middletown Superintendent Ken Eastwood and Schenectady Superintendent Larry Spring hand-delivered it to the federal Department of Education’s civil rights office in New York City Friday morning. Eastwood said the feds would notify them within 45 days whether they plan to open an investigation.

You can read the complaint here:

Civil Rights Complaint by the Middletown and Schenectady, NY, school districts regarding state school aid

On pages 10 and 11, there’s a chart they use to make their argument, that says Middletown and Schenectady got 56 percent and 54 percent, respectively, of the aid they were promised in 2007, after the lawsuit Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York successfully challenged the way the state gives out educational aid on grounds similar to Spring’s and Eastwood’s complaint.

The average district statewide is getting 79 percent of its promised aid, the complaint says. The chart shows almost 60 districts, the majority but not all of them predominantly white, as getting higher percentages of their promised aid.

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