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Site Offers Access to Unprecedented Amounts of School-Level Funding Data in a New Interactive Format

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of a groundbreaking school funding transparency website, the latest step toward a more open and equitable education system. The new site offers the ability to view and download data at the school district level and – for the first time – the school building level. In addition, an easy to use visualization tool including an interactive map allows the user to select a district and school, leading to the display of that school’s overall funding allocation, per pupil funding allocation, allocation by funding source, school enrollment, and student demographic data.

“New Yorkers have the right to know how much is being spent at their school, and for too long these decisions were being made in the dark,” Governor Cuomo said. “When we understand where the money actually goes, we can begin to address funding inequalities and ensure every child gets the best shot at a quality education.”

“This interactive online database will improve transparency and our education system here in New York State,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “As part of our Open NY initiative, we are continuing our commitment to ensure the public has access to essential information. We have made unprecedented investments in our education system, and this new website will be an important part of our ongoing efforts to address inequities that still exist in our communities.”

The initial launch includes data from the 76 school districts required to submit school-level funding data for the 2018-19 school year. An additional 230 school districts will be added in the second year and, beginning in 2020, all 674 school districts receiving Foundation Aid will be required to submit data that will be reflected on the website.

The FY 2019 Enacted Budget included landmark legislation directing school districts to report school-level financial data. Most school districts have multiple schools, each with a unique profile and student population, yet the State had never collected and disseminated data on how funds are distributed within a school district at the school building level. As a result, neither the sufficiency of funding for all students nor the efficacy of the existing local/State partnership for education funding has been fully understood.

Through this website, parents, lawmakers and the public will better understand how funding determinations are made and how those decisions interact with school performance, race, poverty and student need.

State Budget Director Robert F. Mujica, Jr., said, “Transparency engenders trust, and facts guide intelligent decision-making. This data has already uncovered funding inequities in some of the State’s highest-need schools.”

The new school funding transparency website is part of the Division of Budget’s “Open Budget” website, which, since launching in 2014 has been providing unprecedented access to New York’s budget information. The site gives researchers, citizens, business, and the media direct access to high-value data – including large amounts of raw financial data – so these groups can apply their collective expertise to search, explore and analyze budget information, and even develop applications that allow the data to be used for new and innovative purposes. 

Open Budget is a contributing site to Governor Cuomo’s Open NY initiative, an award-winning initiative of policies, programs, and tools that provide public access to digital data for collaboration and analysis, empowering the public and government with data for the digital age. As of the January 2019 Open NY quarterly update, there are more than 441 million records available, published by 58 state agencies and authorities. 

In a 2017 report by the Center for Data Innovation, a nonprofit that conducts independent research and formulates public policies to enable data-driven innovation in the public and private sectors, New York was one of six states to receive the highest ranking for open-data portals, reflecting specific open-data policies, open-data portals, and machine-readability written into both the portals and the policies.

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