In 2007, the Bloomberg administration developed a Fair Student Funding formula (FSF) that allocated weighted funding for specific student needs to every city public school. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein hailed FSF as a giant step towards systemic equity. “I think it’s important to the city that we can say that we are being equitable, we are being transparent, and we are treating kids who are in a similar situation the same,” Klein declared.
Since it was implemented in 2007, FSF has never been fully funded, primarily because of fiscal exigencies such as the 2008 financial crisis. Many schools that received significantly more funding than their FSF formula called for, were allowed to keep their excess, sometimes hundreds of thousands of additional dollars. Many other city schools were short funded, receiving considerably less than their FSF called for. In a well-researched CUNY dissertation, Children First Reforms, Fair Student Funding and the Displacement of Accountability in the New York City Department of Education, (2015), Daniel Voloch found that in 2013-14, the percentage of funding city schools received varied from 81% to 134% of their FSF amount. Voloch also found an inverse relationship between the percentage of their Fair Student Funding schools received, their school size or enrollment, and their percentages of low-income and ELL students. The larger the school and the larger the percentage of their low-income and ELL students, the less FSF funding those schools received.