‘You should reward excellence’: Bayside High School PTA urges community to join fight for funding equity

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Parents of students at Bayside High School are calling on the community in their fight for fair school funding.

In July, reports surfaced that the top-performing Bayside institution only received 83 to 90 percent of the funding amount determined by the Department of Education Fair Student Funding (FSF) formula.

Instead of receiving approximately $17.47 million for the upcoming school year, the PTA said DOE shortchanged the school by $3 million.

Since then, the school’s PTA called out the injustice and have contacted 3,000 parents and 12,000 community members to inform them of the lack of funding. The mailers encouraged locals to contact Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Richard Carranza and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson concerning the issue.

“Call or email these decision makers to tell them to fully fund Bayside High School 2019-2020! Students, families and your community are worth your tax money,” read the mailer.

PTA President Paul DiBenedetto told QNS that the school’s graduation rate rose from 60 percent to 98.7 percent in recent years. The school has the city’s third-highest graduation rate, including SHSAT schools.

“The city should be rewarding excellence, not punishing it,” said DiBenedetto.

But due to the state’s failure to direct more money toward city schools per the Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement, there is a $750 million shortfall in FSF. Politico reported that DOE has invested over $800 million in FSF, which raised the floor from 81 percent to 90 percent for all schools.

“This administration has added $4 billion in education funding, including raising the Fair Student Funding percentage at Bayside High School from 84 percent to 90 percent and adding dedicated Career and Technical Education and College Access funding at the school. We’ll be able to fund all schools at 100 percent Fair Student Funding when the state pays the $1.2 billion it owes the city,” DOE spokesperson Danielle Filson.

Most FSF money is unrestricted and can be used at the school’s discretion. But DiBenedetto said that the current funding they receive is not enough to match the school’s budget and has resulted in larger class sizes, fewer teachers, guidance counselors and security and cuts to their career and technical education program (CTE).

DiBenedetto, whose son is in the program at school said that DOE did not provide enough funds to run the CTE program. The program allows each student to take an elective and gain work-based experience through job shadowing, mentorships and internships.

DOE said that they currently supplement the program through $500,000 in grants and additional funding.

DiBenedetto encourages parents of students and community members to reach out to De Blasio, Carranza and Johnson via phone or email.

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio: 212-788-2958 or visit www1.nyc.gov
  • Chancellor Richard Carranza: 212-374-0200 or Rcarranza@schools.nyc.gov
  • Speaker Corey Johnson: 212-564-7757 or District3@council.nyc.gov

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