Academic Intervention Services

 

Karl Widerquist, Staff Economist

The Educational Priorities Panel

 

Introduction

                  The creation of Special Needs/Academic Intervention Services (SN/AIS or simply AIS for short) is the largest restructuring of the allocation of funds to New York City’s Community School Districts (CSDs) in more than a decade. It replaces forty-five[1] individual allocation programs recognizing various special needs of pupils with one comprehensive, block-grant allocation. According to the Board of Education’s Division of Budget Operations and Review the goals of the new formula are to:

 

·            Simplify the formula allocation process.

·            Add flexibility in combining resources to design programs and services.

·            Ensure Stable Funding to allow provision/intervention as well as mandated programs.

·            Enable Financial Planning through retention of tax levy accruals

·            Break Down Barriers between different service categories.

·            Broaden Focus from special education pupils to pupils with special needs.[2]

 

 

                  Much of the reason for creating AIS was to support special education reform so that students could receive the services they need while removing the financial incentive to classify students as “special education” if it is not absolutely necessary. Another reason for AIS was to give districts more flexibility to use their resources.

Replacing a large number of small spending mandates with one block grant will certainly add flexibility. One would hope it would also increase equity. This report examines the equity effects of AIS and demonstrates that more needs to be done to increase equity in the allocation of funds to CSDs. AIS may help special education reform but it does not provide enough resources for high-needs districts to prevent continued academic failure. Part one describes how the new Special Needs/Academic Intervention Services works. Part two examines the effect of AIS on the distribution of funds toward districts that have large concentrations of high-needs pupils. The major finding of this analysis is that the creation of AIS itself does not increase the portion of funds going to needy districts, and in many cases, it actually redirects funds toward less-needy districts. The formula does not make it easy understand why funds are directed toward particular districts. To some extend the allocation formula still rewards districts for poor performance. The report concludes by discussing how the Board of Education could achieve its goal of greater flexibility and simplicity while also increasing equity and eliminating rewards for poor performance.

                  Both state and federal aid to school districts recognize poverty as a factor that requires greater education funding. But within New York City, the distribution of aid to school districts does not make poverty as central criterion for the allocation of funds. Reimbursable funds are more than 59% higher in the eight districts with the largest percentage of students receiving free lunch (an indicator of poverty) and Special Needs/Academic Intervention Services are more than 37% higher. But tax levy funds, by far the largest portion of funds, are basically flat per pupil, making the overall budget less than 19% higher in the eight districts with the largest percentage of students receiving free lunches than in the eight districts with the lowest percentage of students receiving free lunches. As Table 1 shows, the eight districts with the highest level of poverty receive on average $1,103 more than the eight districts with the lowest level of poverty.


Table 1: Per pupil CSD allocation and budget by percent receiving free lunch

 

Percent

 

 

 

 

 

 

free lunch

AIS

Tax levy

Reimbursable

budget

Title 1

1st Quarter

54.25%

1,216

4,546

1,372

5,918

245.51

(lowest % free lunch)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd Quarter

74.63%

1,294

4,458

1,542

6,000

450.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3rd Quarter

87.89%

1,626

4,796

2,016

6,812

605.30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th Quarter

93.78%

1,675

4,832

2,189

7,021

673.34

(highest % free lunch)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Average

77.63%

1,453

4,658

1,780

6,438

494

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Percentage difference

 

 

 

 

 

 

between 1st and 4th quarters

 

37.74%

 

 

 

174.26%

 

                  This is a small difference if it is compared to state Operating Aid, which directs about six times as much funds to the least wealthy one-fifth of independent school districts than to the wealthiest one-fifth, but it is quite progressive compared to the total budgets of independent districts statewide. Wealthier districts nearly always spend more than less wealthy districts. The wealthiest one-fifth of independent school districts spend on average nearly $16,000 a year per pupil—well more than double the funds that are available to any CSD in New York City.[3] No amount of redirection of funds within New York City can make up for the fact that city schools are greatly under-funded compared to less-needy suburban districts, but the direction of funds within New York City is still an important issue that needs to be considered.


Part One: The rules of Special Needs/Academic Intervention Services

                  According to the FY 2001 BOR Allocation Memorandum No. 1, the methodology for the AIS formula is as follows:

 

The Special Needs/Academic Intervention Services allocation formula allocates teacher positions and a fixed dollar amount based on a “virtual” special needs register. The special needs register is comprised of a percentage of the following populations:

 

·            Student Population: 8%. October 31, 1999 audited register, grades kindergarten to 12 general and special education, adjusted for long term (sic) absentees (no shows).

·            Academic Criteria: 11%. From FY 1999 testing, general and special education pupils scoring at or below the 25th percentile on the Reading or Math CTB, grades 3, 5, 6, and 7; Level 1 on the State Reading or Math exam, grades 4 and 8. The percent below is applied to the October 31, 1999 audited register to produce the estimated number of pupils below academic criteria. This action compensates for untested pupils, i.e. grades kindergarten, 1, 2, and 9 and above.

·            Low Income: 6%. October 31, 1999 free lunch eligible pupils—general and special education.

·            Limited English Proficiency: 2%. The number of English language learners scoring at or below the 40th percentile on the Language Assessment Battery test.

·            Mobility: group of 1,500 pupils. Expected pupil mobility in a group of 1,500 pupils. Mobility is expressed as a percentage. It is the number of pupils entering and/or leaving a school’s register after October 31st, divided by the October 31st register plus all students who entered after October 31st.

·            Self-Contained Special Education: 25%. Audited October 31st, 1999 register of pupils enrolled in self-contained special education classes excluding inclusionary pupils…and long term (sic) absentees.

·            Teacher Certification: one pupil for every two uncertified teachers. Division of Human Resources’ FY’00 uncertified teacher data.

 

Applying the needs factor to the respective populations produces a systemized special needs (sic) “virtual” register of just under 150,000 pupils. This represents 20% of the entire CSD pupil enrollment.

                       The Special Needs register drives the district allocation of teacher positions and dollars. These amounts were calculated using the current special education program, but applied to all the students in the special needs “virtual” register.

 

·            Teacher Positions: 1 position per 9.85 special needs pupils.

·           Fixed Dollar Amount: $2,190 per special needs pupil.[4]

 

 

                  Although this formula is still rather complex, it would certainly be a great simplification if it were to fully replace the old system of 45 different methodologies. However, the AIS formula would require $155 million more than districts would receive under each of the 45 old methodologies, and the Board of Education has only been successful in identifying $85 million of new and redirected funding and was, therefore, not able to fully put the new system in place. Instead, the Board opted for a maximum increase (of 13.85%) and a minimum increase (of 1.5%) over what the districts would have received had the old system remained in place.

                  Of the 32 Community School Districts, 26 of them are at one of the two limits—4 at the lower limit and 22 at the upper limit. Certainly, there is a substantial difference between an increase of 1.5% and an increase of 13.85%, but the fact that more than three-fourths of the CSDs are at one limit or the other demonstrates that the old system of 45 different allocation formulas is still partially in effect and is still having a very substantial impact on the level of aid received by each district. Great simplification for CSD officials is provided by the fact that the mandated funding of the old system is gone and replaced by a block grant, but the complex method of calculating the amounts of funding each CSD is eligible for is still partially in effect.

                  Table 2 (parts A, B, and C) summarizes the rules of the old allocation system. Most of the allocation programs that have been consolidated into the new system (30 out of 45) were based on the number of special education students. The others are based on some other concept of need[5] (5), per capita (1), random[6] (3), discretionary (1), or some combination these (3). The criteria for two of the allocation programs [Attendance Child Abuse/Neglect (5) and AIDP alternatives to suspension (40)] were not explained in the FY2000 BOR Allocation Memorandum.

                  Aside from special education, the needs-based programs are all based on low achievement rather than on socio-economic or categorical need. Allocating funds in such a manner rewards failure and punishing success. If a district with greater socio-economic needs has low test scores, it will be allocated extra funds. If the district successfully uses those funds to bring test scores up, the funds will be taken away until test scores drop again. Thus, for over a decade the Educational Priorities Panel has called for replacing allocation programs based on low achievement with programs based on socio-economic need. AIS makes at least some attempt to do this by allocating 6% of its funds based on the number of low-income students in each district. This explicit incorporation of this factor is a substantial improvement, but this is still a relatively small portion of funds. It is only a little over half the funds given to districts with low-achieving students.

                  The Board of Education argues that the larger context is that high-poverty districts already receive more funds and that over the past 3 years there have been substantial increases in funding for high-poverty districts. These increases, however, reflect a mix of federal, state, and city funding sources. This report examines whether the shift to AIS shifts more funds toward students that are at risk of being held back. And, as part two demonstrates, the new AIS system does not direct more funds to CSDs with greater socio-economic needs.

 


Table 2 (parts A, B, and C): The rules of the old allocation system

 

2A: GENERAL EDUCATION-TAX LEVY

1. Special Needs, Module 2B

Per student falling below a specific score in reading or math.

2. Special Education Class Coverage

Based on the number of special education students.

3. Special Education Pupil Mainstreaming

Based on the number of periods a student is mainstreamed

4. Section 504 Paraprofessional

Based on recommendations of the Division of Student Support Services, or FY99 needs.

5. Attendance Child Abuse/Neglect

Not Explained in BOR

6. Kindergarten Paraprofessional

Random, based on school utilization.

7. Latchkey

Random, reimburses districts that happen to have a latchkey program.

 

2B: SPECIAL EDUCATION-TAX LEVY

8. Classroom Teacher

Based on the number of special education students.

9. Crisis Intervention Teacher

10. Supervisor

11. Industrial Arts Teacher

12. Teacher Trainer

13. Language Coordinator

14. Basic Paraprofessional

15. Counselor, Related Service

16. Speech Teacher, Related Service

17. Teacher Absence

18. Basic Paraprofessional Service

19. Clerical Support for Supervisors

20. OTPS & Other Support Services

21. OTPS Industrial Arts

22. OTPS Related Service, Speech/Counsiling

23. OTPS Supervision and Support

24. IEP Driven Paraprofessional & Absence

25. Bilingual Paraprofessional & Absence

26. Health Coordinator

27. Budget Reduction

28. Restoration Prevention/Intervention

29. Fractional Pool

30. Pupil Suspension Hearings (New)


 

2C: REIMBURSABLE

31. ERSSA, Educational Related Support Services, Per Capita

1/3 Per capita, 1/3 low test scores, 1/3 on the number of declassified students

32. IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Per Capita

Based on the number of special education students

33. IDEA, Least Restrictive Environment Pilot

34. IDEA, IEP Equipment

35. School Age Plus

36. IDEA, School Age Plus

37. PCEN, Pupils with Compensatory Educational Needs

Based on number of students who fail reading and math exams

38. AIDP, Attendance Improvement/Dropout Prevention, Elementary & Middle Schools

Based on attendance with more funds being given to schools with low attendance

39. ERSSA, AIDP Transitional Program

Based on number of students decertified as special education.

40. AIDP, Alternatives to Suspension

Not explained in BOR, see Division of Student Support Services Memorandum #67, June 10th, 1998.

41. Chapter 53 Reading, Per Capita

Partly per capita, partly based on low reading, math, and LAB scores, and party based on the number of teachers with less than five years experience.

42. SIG/IPP, State Incentive Grant-Improving Pupil Performance, Per Capita

Per capita

43. SIG/IPP, Quality Improvement Program Plan, QUIPP

Partly per capita, partly based on the number of resource room teachers, speech teachers, crisis intervention teachers and basic paraprofessionals in each district

44. Title VI, Consultant Teacher

Based on the number of special education students

45. AIDP Welcome Centers

Random, reimburses districts that have welcome centers

 


Part Two: How well do needy students fair under AIS?

                  The New York State Education Department identifies poverty, limited English ability, and racial/ethnic group identity as factors associated with need[7] among general education students:[8] Although state and federal aid to schools recognize these need factors and at least partially allocate funds accordingly, these factors have played a relatively small role in determining the level of funds allocated to CSDs as Table 3 illustrates. This section examines how much AIS helps districts with high concentrations of students in four needs categories: the percentage of students receiving free lunches (an indicator of the level of poverty in the district), the percentage of students who are English Language Learners (ELL), the percentage of nonwhite students, and the percentage of special education students. Data for the first three of these comes from the Citizens’ Committee for Children,[9] and data for the percentage of special education students was calculated from the number of special education students and the total enrollment figures reported in the FY 2001 BOR allocation summary.

                  To a large extent, AIS gives the largest increases to districts with lower needs, but mostly the increases are random with some high-needs and some low-needs districts receiving large increase and with some high-needs and some low-needs districts receiving small increases. For additional statistics on the allocation of funds by student needs see Appendix Tables 1 and 2.

                  Table 3 compares the 4 districts receiving the minimum increase to the 22 districts receiving the maximum increase in terms of the average percentage of students in each of these needs categories. On average, those receiving the maximum increase have a lower percentage of students in each of these four needs categories than those receiving the minimum increase: Districts receiving the minimum increase have an average of 82.3% of their students receiving free lunches, while districts receiving the maximum have an average of only 78.9%. Districts receiving the minimum have an average of 17.5% of their students who are English Language Learners (ELL), while districts receiving the maximum have an average of 17.4%. Districts receiving the minimum increase have an average of 91.6% nonwhite students, while districts receiving the maximum have only 85.9% nonwhite. This may sound like a small difference and clearly it shows that most districts in New York City have a large percentage of nonwhite students, but that 5.7 percentage point difference means that districts receiving the maximum increase have about 67% more white students than districts receiving the minimum. Districts receiving the minimum increase have an average of 17.8% of their students classified as special education while districts receiving the maximum have an average of only 11.2% special education. That is, districts receiving the minimum increase have an average of nearly 60% more special education students than districts receiving the minimum.

 


 

Table 3: Comparison of districts receiving the minimum and maximum increases

 

Average percent receiving free lunch

Average percent ELL

Average percent nonwhite

 

Average percent special education

Districts receiving the minimum increase (1.5%)

82.3%

17.5%

91.6%

17.8%

Districts receiving the maximum increase (13.85%)

78.9%

17.4%

85.9%

11.2%

 

                  Looking at the data for each district reveals the same pattern or lack of pattern. Table 4 ranks the CSDs by the percentage of students receiving free lunch, and demonstrates that the level of poverty in a district seems to have little relationship with whether a district receives the minimum or maximum increase. The district with the highest percentage receiving free lunches receives the maximum increase, but the second-ranked district receives the minimum increase. The district with the second-lowest percentage of students receiving free lunches receives just above the minimum increase, but the district with the third-lowest percentage receives the maximum increase.


 


Table 4

CSD

Percentage

change

Percent

free lunch

Rank by percent free lunch

9

13.85%

96.20%

1

7

1.50%

95.00%

2

6

13.85%

94.70%

3

16

13.85%

94.30%

4

32

13.85%

93.80%

5

12

10.05%

92.50%

6

23

13.85%

92.30%

7

19

13.85%

91.40%

8

5

13.85%

91.10%

9

4

2.69%

90.50%

10

1

1.50%

89.90%

11

14

13.85%

89.70%

12

17

13.85%

89.10%

13

10

11.32%

89.00%

14

8

8.64%

84.80%

15

21

13.85%

79.00%

16

11

1.50%

76.90%

17

30

13.85%

76.70%

18

15

13.85%

76.60%

19

18

13.85%

75.10%

21

27

13.85%

75.10%

20

24

13.85%

73.40%

22

29

13.85%

71.80%

23

28

13.85%

71.40%

24

13

13.85%

69.10%

25

3

1.50%

67.50%

26

20

13.85%

66.20%

27

22

13.85%

65.20%

28

2

13.85%

54.70%

29

25

13.85%

49.70%

30

31

1.59%

40.40%

31

26

5.15%

21.20%

32


 

                  Table 5 ranks the districts by the percentage of students who are English Language Learners (ELL). Again whether a district has a high or a low percentage of ELL students has little relationship to whether the district receives the minimum or maximum increase or something in between. The district with the highest percentage of ELL students receives the maximum increase, but so does the district with the lowest percentage of ELL students. Those receiving the minimum increase, tend to be in the middle of the distribution.

 


Table 5

CSD

Percentage

change

Percent

ELL

Rank by

percent ELL

6

13.85%

49.80%

1

24

13.85%

29.60%

2

10

11.32%

28.90%

3

9

13.85%

28.10%

4

30

13.85%

27.60%

5

20

13.85%

27.00%

6

7

1.50%

25.10%

7

32

13.85%

24.70%

8

12

10.05%

22.60%

9

1

1.50%

20.40%

10

25

13.85%

19.10%

11

15

13.85%

18.40%

12

21

13.85%

18.30%

13

14

13.85%

18.00%

14

2

13.85%

17.80%

15

19

13.85%

16.60%

16

28

13.85%

15.20%

17

8

8.64%

14.70%

18

4

2.69%

14.60%

19

3

1.50%

14.20%

20

5

13.85%

12.90%

21

22

13.85%

12.10%

22

27

13.85%

10.70%

23

11

1.50%

10.10%

25

26

5.15%

10.10%

24

17

13.85%

9.80%

26

29

13.85%

8.30%

27

13

13.85%

5.80%

29

23

13.85%

5.80%

28

18

13.85%

5.50%

30

31

1.59%

4.30%

31

16

13.85%

2.40%

32


                  Table 6 ranks the CSDs by the percentage of nonwhite students in the district. Again there is little relationship between the percentage of nonwhite students and whether the district receives the minimum or maximum increase. The district with the fewest nonwhite students receives just above the minimum increase, while the district with the second-smallest portion of nonwhite students receives the maximum increase. The district with the largest percentage of nonwhite students receives the minimum increase while the district with the second largest percentage of nonwhite students receives the maximum increase.

 


Table 6

CSD

Percentage

change

Percent

nonwhite

Rank by percent nonwhite

7

1.50%

99.8%

1

16

13.85%

99.7%

2

9

13.85%

99.6%

3

23

13.85%

99.6%

4

5

13.85%

99.5%

5

17

13.85%

99.4%

6

12

10.05%

99.2%

7

4

2.69%

98.8%

8

6

13.85%

98.5%

9

13

13.85%

98.3%

10

19

13.85%

98.3%

11

29

13.85%

97.6%

12

32

13.85%

97.40%

13

1

1.50%

94.1%

14

10

11.32%

93.4%

15

18

13.85%

90.7%

16

14

13.85%

90.5%

17

8

8.64%

90.0%

18

11

1.50%

88.1%

19

3

1.50%

84.3%

20

30

13.85%

83.1%

21

27

13.85%

82.7%

22

28

13.85%

81.1%

23

24

13.85%

80.5%

25

15

13.85%

78.2%

24

25

13.85%

70.7%

26

22

13.85%

68.8%

27

2

13.85%

67.7%

29

26

5.15%

58.8%

28

21

13.85%

55.6%

30

20

13.85%

52.9%

31

31

1.59%

36.5%

32

 


                  Table 7 ranks the CSDs by the number of students classified as special education. There is some randomness in this category as well, but it is apparent that districts with higher percentages of special education students generally receive smaller increases. All of the districts receiving the minimum increase are ranked in the top 8 in terms of the number of special education students. Seven out of the top 8 districts receive less than the maximum increase, while 14 of the 15 lowest ranked districts receive the maximum increase. The shift of funds away from students classified as special education to those classified as general education is part of the Board of Education’s effort to reduce the financial incentive to classify students as special education in order to receive funding. The Board of Education argues that this effort has succeeded in reducing the number of students classified as special education while providing services to meet those student’s needs.


Table 7

CSD

Percentage

change

Percent

special ed

Rank by percent special education

7

1.50%

21.06%

1

1

1.50%

20.44%

2

12

10.05%

20.06%

3

4

2.69%

16.14%

4

16

13.85%

15.65%

5

10

11.32%

15.34%

6

11

1.50%

15.23%

7

3

1.50%

14.66%

8

14

13.85%

14.37%

9

23

13.85%

14.32%

10

5

13.85%

13.91%

11

8

8.64%

13.81%

12

9

13.85%

13.65%

13

32

13.85%

13.24%

14

27

13.85%

12.69%

15

19

13.85%

12.67%

16

31

1.59%

12.57%

17

21

13.85%

12.53%

18

15

13.85%

12.24%

19

13

13.85%

11.08%

20

17

13.85%

11.00%

21

20

13.85%

9.96%

22

28

13.85%

9.92%

23

18

13.85%

9.70%

25

22

13.85%

9.58%

24

6

13.85%

9.57%

26

25

13.85%

9.36%

27

26

5.15%

9.26%

29

30

13.85%

9.02%

28

29

13.85%

8.94%

30

2

13.85%

8.87%

31

24

13.85%

4.56%

32


 

Comparison of six districts

                  Table 8 compares 6 districts in terms of the size of their allocation increase and in terms of the same 4 need characteristics. The districts compared are the 3 districts with the lowest percentage of students receiving free lunches (districts 25, 31, and 26) and the districts with the highest percentage of students receiving free lunches (districts 6, 7, and 9). As one can see from the table, districts with high percentage of students receiving free lunches tend also to be high in other need categories as districts with a low percentage of students receiving free lunches tend also to be low in other need categories.

                  District 26 has the fewest students receiving free lunches of any CSD. It ranks 24th (out of 32 CSDs) in the percentage of students with limited English proficiency, 29th in percentage of students who are nonwhite, and 29th in percentage of students classified as special education, yet it receives a higher increase than district 7 both in percentage and per pupil terms, despite the fact that district 7 ranks highly in every need category. It ranks 2nd in percent free lunch, 7th in percent ELL, 1st in percent nonwhite, and 1st in percent special ed. Arguably district 7 has the most at-risk pupils of any district in the city, yet it receives the minimum increase in funding, apparently held there only by the hold harmless provision of the AIS rules, and it would be receiving even less if the new AIS allocation formula were to go fully into effect.

                  District 31 ranks low in all 4 needs categories. It ranks 2nd to last in percent free lunch and percent ELL, last in percent nonwhite, and 18th (just below the median) in percent special ed. District 31 receives a relatively small increase, but it is still larger in percentage terms than district 7’s increase. What then does the shift to AIS have to do with broadening the focus of categorical funding to serve all students with special needs?

                  Districts 25, 6, and 9 all receive the maximum increase of 13.85%, but district 25 is a relatively low-needs district while districts 6 and 9 are high-needs districts. District 25 has relatively few at-risk students in terms of poverty, race, and special education, although it does have more than the median number of ELL students (ranking 11th) it ranks below districts 6, 7, and 9 in this category as well. Despite being ranked lower in every needs category than district 7, district 25’s increase is 8 times as large in absolute terms, 4 times as large in per pupil terms, and 5 times as large in percentage terms. What then does AIS have to do with getting more money to at-risk students? It is difficult to tell from the AIS formula exactly why district 25’s increase is so much larger than district 7’s.

                  Another factor to be aware of is the randomness of the changes. District 7 has similar needs characteristics to districts 6 and 9, but receives less than one-fifth of the increase in percentage terms than either of those districts. Again, it is difficult to tell from the AIS allocation formula exactly why this is happening and what goal it serves.


Table 8: A comparison of 3 relatively advantaged with 3 relatively disadvantaged districts

CSD number

26

31

25

6

7

9

Total

increase

787,388

709,044

3,102,394

4,599,286

387,527

5,281,958

Per pupil

increase

50

19

132

170

32

198

Total per pupil budget

5,426

5,737

5,672

6,324

7,582

6,796

Percentage

increase

5.15%

1.59%

13.85%

13.85%

1.50%

13.85%

Relative size

of increase

middle

near minimum

maximum

maximum

minimum

maximum

Percent

free lunch

21.20%

40.40%

49.70%

94.70%

95.00%

96.20%

Percent

ELL

10.10%

4.30%

19.10%

49.80%

25.10%

28.10%

Percent

nonwhite

58.80%

36.50%

70.70%

98.50%

99.80%

99.60%

Percent

special ed

9.26%

12.57%

9.36%

9.57%

21.06%

13.65%

Rank by percent

free lunch

32

31

30

3

2

1

Rank by

percent ELL

24

31

11

1

7

4

Rank by

percent nonwhite

29

32

26

9

1

4

Rank by percent

special ed

29

18

28

27

1

13

 

 

 

How does AIS compare to an across-the-board increase in funding?

                  AIS gives an average of a 10.95% increase in funding. Thus, we can easily compare the practical effect of the switch to AIS for each district as Table 9 does below. 23 districts do slightly better with AIS, but of the 9 districts that would do better with an across-the-board increase, many of them would do substantially better. Most districts receive the maximum increase of 13.85% and therefore would receive a 2.90% less if the old allocation system were retained with across-the-board increase of 10.95%. Because some districts receive much smaller increases, some districts would have as much as 9.45 percentage points more with an across-the-board increase. A quick look at Table 9 shows that the districts that would do substantially better with an across-the-board increase are spread through the distribution in terms of percentage of students receiving a free lunch—from the second to the last ranked district. One of the key problems with AIS, is a lack of transparency. Neither the rules describing AIS allocations nor the rules describing the 45 allocation programs it replaced give one a good understanding why these particular districts receive increases that are so much smaller than other districts with similar needs.

 

Table 9: How does AIS compare to an across-the-board increase?

 

 

CSD

Percent free lunch

Rank by percent free lunch

Percentage change in funding

Difference with an across the board increase

9

96.2%

1

13.85%

-2.90%

7

95.0%

2

1.50%

9.45%

6

94.7%

3

13.85%

-2.90%

16

94.3%

4

13.85%

-2.90%

32

93.8%

5

13.85%

-2.90%

12

92.5%

6

10.05%

0.90%

23

92.3%

7

13.85%

-2.90%

19

91.4%

8

13.85%

-2.90%

5

91.1%

9

13.85%

-2.90%

4

90.5%

10

2.69%

8.26%

1

89.9%

11

1.50%

9.45%

14

89.7%

12

13.85%

-2.90%

17

89.1%

13

13.85%

-2.90%

10

89.0%

14

11.32%

-0.37%

8

84.8%

15

8.64%

2.31%

21

79.0%

16

13.85%

-2.90%

11

76.9%

17

1.50%

9.45%

30

76.7%

18

13.85%

-2.90%

15

76.6%

19

13.85%

-2.90%

18

75.1%

21

13.85%

-2.90%

27

75.1%

20

13.85%

-2.90%

24

73.4%

22

13.85%

-2.90%

29

71.8%

23

13.85%

-2.90%

28

71.4%

24

13.85%

-2.90%

13

69.1%

25

13.85%

-2.90%

3

67.5%

26

1.50%

9.45%

20

66.2%

27

13.85%

-2.90%

22

65.2%

28

13.85%

-2.90%

2

54.7%

29

13.85%

-2.90%

25

49.7%

30

13.85%

-2.90%

31

40.4%

31

1.59%

9.36%

26

21.2%

32

5.15%

5.80%

 


                  Table 10 compares the characteristics of CSDs that would be better off with AIS to those that would be better off with an across-the-board increase in funds under the old allocation system. The first 2 rows show the affect on districts that gain the maximum from AIS to those that gain the minimum from AIS. The 3rd and 4th rows compare all CSDs that receive more from AIS than with an across-the-board increase to all those that would receive more from an across-the-board increase. Those that gain from AIS gain an average of 2.79% over an across-the-board increase. Those that would gain more from an across-the-board increase would receive an average of 7.16% more funds from an across-the-board increase than they receive from AIS. Those that are better off from AIS are slightly higher in each needs category except percent special education. Districts with a large percentage of high-needs pupils are not systematically better or worse off with AIS than with an across-the-board increase, but the difference between whether a district is better or worse off with AIS seems to have little to do with the socio-economic needs of that district.

 

Table 9: Comparison of the gainers and losers vs. an across-board-increase

 

Percent

special ed

Percent

ELL

Percent nonwhite

Percent

free lunch

Difference with an across-the-board increase

CSDs gaining the maximum from AIS

11.22%

17.43%

85.93%

78.94%

-2.90%

CSDs gaining the minimum from AIS

17.85%

17.45%

91.58%

82.33%

9.45%

All CSDs gaining more with AIS

11.40%

17.93%

86.25%

79.37%

-2.79%

All CSDs gaining more with an across-the-board increase

15.91%

15.12%

83.29%

73.19%

7.16%

 

Horizontal equity and AIS

                  The kind of equity we have been concerned with so far is vertical equity, which involves making sure that districts with higher needs generally receive a higher level of funds. However, horizontal equity, which involves making sure that districts with similar needs receive similar levels of funds, is also important. While AIS has not greatly increased vertical equity it has at least partially increased horizontal equity. Table 10 ranks districts by the percent receiving free lunches and compares the per pupil increase in AIS to the per pupil level of AIS. This table shows that some districts that receive smaller increases than districts with similar percentages of students receiving free lunches, such as district 7, have higher levels of per pupil AIS. However, this is not a consistent pattern. Some districts like district 12 receive maximum increases despite having higher levels of AIS than other districts with similar levels of poverty. The remaining complexities of the AIS allocation formula make it difficult to assess to what extent it is intended to increase horizontal equity.


Table 10: Horizontal equity and AIS

CSD

Percentage increase

in AIS

Percent free lunch

Per pupil AIS

Per pupil increase in AIS

9

13.85%

96.2%

1,627

198

7

1.50%

95.0%

2,159

32

6

13.85%

94.7%

1,400

170

16

13.85%

94.3%

1,413

172

32

13.85%

93.8%

1,644

200

12

10.05%

92.5%

1,939

177

23

13.85%

92.3%

1,634

199

19

13.85%

91.4%

1,583

193

5

13.85%

91.1%

1,703

207

4

2.69%

90.5%

1,768

46

1

1.50%

89.9%

1,962

29

14

13.85%

89.7%

1,629

198

17

13.85%

89.1%

1,370

167

10

11.32%

89.0%

1,679

171

8

8.64%

84.8%

1,670

133

21

13.85%

79.0%

1,231

150

11

1.50%

76.9%

1,624

24

30

13.85%

76.7%

1,163

142

15

13.85%

76.6%

1,313

160

18

13.85%

75.1%

1,318

160

27

13.85%

75.1%

1,449

176

24

13.85%

73.4%

1,081

131

29

13.85%

71.8%

1,176

143

28

13.85%

71.4%

1,231

150

13

13.85%

69.1%

1,530

186

3

1.50%

67.5%

1,504

22

20

13.85%

66.2%

1,244

151

22

13.85%

65.2%

1,104

134

2

13.85%

54.7%

1,047

127

25

13.85%

49.7%

1,083

132

31

1.59%

40.4%

1,195

19

26

5.15%

21.2%

1,021

50

 

 

Pupils with Compensatory Educational Needs

                  One of the programs folded into Special Needs/Academic Intervention Services is Pupils with Compensatory Educational Needs (PCEN); a state program to help students with special needs such as limited English proficiency. Table 11 shows that PCEN did a good job of getting more funds to districts with high levels of ELL students, but not as well getting more money to nonwhite and low-income students. Table 11A divides the districts into quarters by the number of students receiving free lunches. The first quarter being those with the smallest percentage of students receiving free lunches and the fourth quarter being those with the highest percentage of free lunches. Table 11B and 11C divide the CSDs into quarters by percent ELL and percent nonwhite respectively. It should be noted that not all programs for ELL were folded into AIS and there are other funds elsewhere in the budget especially designative for ELL.

 

 

Table 11: PCEN Allocation

11A: Averages by quarter

 

11B: Averages by quarter

 

11C: Averages by quarter

by percent free lunch

 

by percent ELL

 

By percent nonwhite

 

PCEN

 

 

PCEN

 

 

PCEN

1st Quarter (lowest percent free lunch)

132

 

1st Quarter (lowest percent ELL)

60

 

1st Quarter (lowest percent nonwhite)

164

 

2nd Quarter

132

 

2nd Quarter

119

 

2nd Quarter

146

 

3rd Quarter

149

 

3rd Quarter

171

 

3rd Quarter

116

4th Quarter (highest

percent free lunch)

129

 

4th Quarter (highest

percent ELL)

192

 

4th Quarter (highest percent nonwhite)

117

 

 


Part Three: Conclusion

 

                  The goals of simplicity and flexibility that underlie the creation of the block grant under Special Needs/Academic Intervention Services are good ones. But more still needs to be done to redirect funds towards at-risk students. There are ways to create more flexibility and simplicity while also increasing the recognition of student needs. Here are several suggestions:

 

 

                  The Board of Education deserve praise for directing relatively more funds to high needs districts than low needs districts, but more needs to be done in this area and more funding is needed across-the-board. With such changes, Special Needs/Academic Intervention Services could simultaneously create greater flexibility, efficiency, and equity.

 


Appendix

 

                  Appendix Table 1 shows detailed district-by-district data for the percentage increase in funds and the percentage of students classified as free lunch, ELL, nonwhite, and special ed. Appendix Table 2 shows district-by-district, per pupil data for AIS, the increase in AIS, tax levy budget, the reimbursable budget, and the total budget.


 

Appendix Table 1: Percentage change in AIS funding and characteristics of districts

 

Percentage

Percent

 

 

 

 

change in

receiving

Percent

Percent

Percent

CSD

funding

free lunch

ELL

nonwhite

special ed

1

1.50%

89.9%

20.4%

94.1%

20.44%

2

13.85%

54.7%

17.8%

67.7%

8.87%

3

1.50%

67.5%

14.2%

84.3%

14.66%

4

2.69%

90.5%

14.6%

98.8%

16.14%

5

13.85%

91.1%

12.9%

99.5%

13.91%

6

13.85%

94.7%

49.8%

98.5%

9.57%

7

1.50%

95.0%

25.1%

99.8%

21.06%

8

8.64%

84.8%

14.7%

90.0%

13.81%

9

13.85%

96.2%

28.1%

99.6%

13.65%

10

11.32%

89.0%

28.9%

93.4%

15.34%

11

1.50%

76.9%

10.1%

88.1%

15.23%

12

10.05%

92.5%

22.6%

99.2%

20.06%

13

13.85%

69.1%

5.8%

98.3%

11.08%

14

13.85%

89.7%

18.0%

90.5%

14.37%

15

13.85%

76.6%

18.4%

78.2%

12.24%

16

13.85%

94.3%

2.4%

99.7%

15.65%

17

13.85%

89.1%

9.8%

99.4%

11.00%

18

13.85%

75.1%

5.5%

90.7%

9.70%

19

13.85%

91.4%

16.6%

98.3%

12.67%

20

13.85%

66.2%

27.0%

52.9%

9.96%

21

13.85%

79.0%

18.3%

55.6%

12.53%

22

13.85%

65.2%

12.1%

68.8%

9.58%

23

13.85%

92.3%

5.8%

99.6%

14.32%

24

13.85%

73.4%

29.6%

80.5%

4.56%

25

13.85%

49.7%

19.1%

70.7%

9.36%

26

5.15%

21.2%

10.1%

58.8%

9.26%

27

13.85%

75.1%

10.7%

82.7%

12.69%

28

13.85%

71.4%

15.2%

81.1%

9.92%

29

13.85%

71.8%

8.3%

97.6%

8.94%

30

13.85%

76.7%

27.6%

83.1%

9.02%

31

1.59%

40.4%

4.3%

36.5%

12.57%

32

13.85%

93.8%

24.7%

97.40%

13.24%

Average

10.94%

77.63%

17.14%

85.42%

12.67%


 



Appendix Table 2: Per pupil allocation of New York City school funds in dollars

 

 

Increase

Tax

 

Total

CSD

AIS*

from AIS

Levy

Reimbursable

Budget

1

1,962

29

5,319

2,170

7,489

2

1,047

127

4,373

1,280

5,653

3

1,504

22

4,758

1,705

6,463

4

1,768

46

4,814

2,155

6,969

5

1,703

207

4,657

2,152

6,809

6

1,400

170

4,385

1,938

6,324

7

2,159

32

5,245

2,337

7,582

8

1,670

133

4,939

1,925

6,864

9

1,627

198

4,693

2,104

6,796

10

1,679

171

4,815

1,921

6,736

11

1,624

24

4,823

1,439

6,262

12

1,939

177

5,166

2,275

7,441

13

1,530

186

4,691

2,009

6,700

14

1,629

198

4,813

2,152

6,965

15

1,313

160

4,476

1,915

6,391

16

1,413

172

4,750

2,207

6,957

17

1,370

167

4,363

1,945

6,308

18

1,318

160

4,352

1,623

5,976

19

1,583

193

4,904

2,166

7,070

20

1,244

151

4,593

1,576

6,169

21

1,231

150

4,644

1,712

6,356

22

1,104

134

4,178

1,350

5,528

23

1,634

199

4,719

2,269

6,987

24

1,081

131

4,256

1,473

5,729

25

1,083

132

4,527

1,145

5,672

26

1,021

50

4,601

825

5,426

27

1,449

176

4,593

1,563

6,156

28

1,231

150

4,448

1,396

5,843

29

1,176

143

4,361

1,226

5,587

30

1,163

142

4,354

1,705

6,059

31

1,195

19

4,647

1,089

5,737

32

1,644

200

4,793

2,219

7,012

Average

1,453

136

4,658

1,780

6,438

*Some AIS funds are considered part of tax levy funds;

 

others are considered part of reimbursable funds.

 

 


 

Appendix Table 3: CSD allocation and budget by percent receiving free lunch

 

Percent

Per pup

Per pup

Per pup

Per puil

 

free lunch

SN-AIS

tax levy

reimbursable

budget

1st Quarter

54.25%

1,216

4,546

1,372

5,918

(lowest % free lunch)

 

 

 

 

 

2nd Quarter

74.63%

1,294

4,458

1,542

6,000

 

 

 

 

 

 

3rd Quarter

87.89%

1,626

4,796

2,016

6,812

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th Quarter

93.78%

1,675

4,832

2,189

7,021

(highest % free lunch)

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Average

77.63%

1,453

4,658

1,780

6,438

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] The number was originally forty-four, but a forty-fifth (Pupil Suspension Hearings) was recently added.

[2] BOR Allocation Memorandum No. 1, FY 2001, p. 125, emphasis in the original.

[3] See EPP’s website www.edpriorities.org.

[4] BOR Allocation Memorandum No. 1, FY 2001, p. 126-127, emphasis in the original.

[5] Usually the Board of Education uses low test scores as a measure of need.

[6] That is, based on whether a school happens to run a particular program.

[7] The University of the State of New York and The State Education Department, 2000. New York: The State of Learning, Statewide Profile of the Educational System. Albany: SUNY (July) p. 70-75.

[8] General education students are those that are not classified as special education, which is itself an important need indicator that will be considered in this report.

[9] The Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, Inc., “Keeping Track of New York City’s Children” Appendix A. All data for the percentage free lunch, the percentage ELL, and the percentage white/nonwhite comes from this report and pertains to the 1996-1997 school year.

[10] See Table 1.