Show us the money! Long Island school districts claim state legally owes them $871M

MINEOLA, N.Y. -- Hundreds of administrators, teachers and students from nearly a dozen Long Island school districts converged outside Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola Tuesday calling on the state of New York to give them the funding that they say is rightfully theirs.

“One day missed without the necessary resources is one day that we can never make up in the lives of these children,” Robert Feliciano, President of the Brentwood Union Free School District Board of Education, said at a press conference Tuesday.

Brentwood, Westbury, Hempstead and Wyandanch are among the Long Island school districts filing a formal complaint with the US Department of Education, claiming they are owed hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from the state’s Foundation Aid program.

According to school officials, districts with predominantly Black and Latino communities are among those drastically underfunded which have resulted in a lack of programs and the closures of several schools.

Launched in 2007 under Governor Spitzer, the Foundation Aid program uses a state wide formula that’s specifically designed to level the playing field between wealth and low-income districts.

In addition to not getting the promised funds, officials say the state is still using demographics from 2007 which don’t reflect the state of the community today.

School administrators say if they don’t get the funding they are owed by the time the annual budget is complete, they plan on taking their fight directly to Albany.