‘It’s David versus Goliath’: Bayside High School parents will rally for equitable funding and consider legal action

Photo credit: Bayside High School

Parents of Bayside High School students are set rally this Friday as they continue the fight for equitable funding.

PTA members announced the protest at the Sept. 9 Community Board 11 meeting in Bayside following an appeal for a community letter-writing campaign to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chancellor Richard Carranza and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

Bayside High PTA President Paul DiBenedetto informed the community that the protest will be on Friday, Sept. 13 at 10 a.m. at the playground across the street from the school.

“Congress Member [Grace] Meng, Borough President [Melinda] Katz, State Senator [John] Liu, State Assemblyman [Ed] Braunstein, Council Member [Paul] Vallone and Community Board 11 support this effort,” declared David Solano, vice president of the Friends of Bayside High School. “DOE Fair Student Funding is anything but fair!”

In July, Vallone uncovered records showing that the top-performing high school only received 90 percent of funding determined by the Department of Education Fair Student Funding (FSF) formula.

“Our research shows a tale of two systems: over 130 small high schools receive 100 percent to 128 percent of their amount due. Other schools get 90 percent to 99 percent of theirs,” DiBenedetto said.

According to the FSF formula, Bayside High School was slated to receive $19 million for the 2020-21 school year but instead got only $17.47 million. The lack of funding resulted in the school cutting the career and technical programs (CTE), which is a significant draw for the 12,000 annual applicants. The PTA added that the school is the largest CTE school in the DOE.

DiBenedetto reported that the DOE has underfunded the school for the past decade, resulting in cuts to teachers, guidance counselors, security guards and classes.

According to the PTA, the school may consider taking legal action if the DOE does not take action.

“If the DOE continues on this path, the parents and community will seek legal redress of their capricious funding patterns. It’s obvious favoritism,” said DiBenedetto. “It’s David versus Goliath but remember who won that fight.”

Correction: A previous version of this story said that Bayside High School received $14.3 million in FSF funding. The amount they received is $17.47 million.

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