Schenectady superintendent alleges school-funding discrimination

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The superintendent for Schenectady schools wants the federal government to intervene in what he argues is racial discrimination in how New York funds education.

Larry Spring, who leads the small city school district north of Albany, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice against the governor's and comptroller's offices and the Legislature, arguing that Schenectady, a district with mostly minority students, gets a lower percentage of the state aid it is owed under state funding formulas than districts with mostly white students.

“New York has promised its school districts a minimum amount of state aid in order to ensure that each district is able to provide basic instruction to its students,” according to the complaint, which was filed on Friday. “Currently, however, a school district's likelihood of receiving the full measure of state educational aid that it has been promised, and consequently, the likelihood that a district is adequately funded, is directly correlated to whether the district serves predominantly white students. The disparity between the percentage of required aid received by predominantly white districts and the percentage received by 'minority-as-majority' districts is too significant to be coincidental.”

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