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Senate Amendment Planned to Drastically Change Existing Federal Funding Formula For Title I in Many Eastern States & Send Money South & West, Effectively Slashing $170M in Critical Funding For NYC Families & Teachers  

Schumer Publicly Condemned Amendment & Fought Hard to Prevent Measure From Threatening NYC’s Funding; Schumer Successfully Beat Back Efforts to Slash Millions in Funding From NY Schools

Schumer: Funding Cuts from NYC Schools Has Been Expelled

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that, after his public push, $170 million in at-risk federal education dollars for New York City schools has been protected. Earlier this week, Schumer launched a major push to block any Senate amendment that significantly cuts Title I funding in the Every Child Achieves Act. Schumer explained that the original Senate amendment would have radically changed the current formula used to allocate Title I education funds to K-12 schools. These funds are the largest source of federal funding for elementary and secondary education and are key to every state’s ability to improve educational opportunities, particularly for children in New York State.

Schumer successfully worked with Senator Burr, Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray to secure a compromise to the amendment. Schumer insisted that all funds be “held harmless’ – meaning the new formula would not apply to any of the existing funds New York receives. In addition, Schumer secured a further improvement to require that the new formula not be applied until Title I funding reaches an annual level of $17 billion. Currently, Title I is funded at approximately $14.5 billion.

Schumer explained that this compromise ensures that New York’s funds will not be cut next year and will only have an impact on funding above $17 billion, which means New York would be seeing an increase in funding overall.  Schumer said that it is good news that this money has been protected because without this funding, NYC school districts, and districts across New York, would be financially overwhelmed and unable to provide critical services to students who most need them.

“As a proud product of the New York public school system, I know how great our state’s schools can be when given the tools, resources and funding to succeed, and that’s why I fought so hard to prevent this proposal from slashing millions in funding from New York’s public schools,” said Senator Schumer. “Our teachers and students work too hard to have the rug pulled out from under them over summer vacation and I am pleased that we were able to successfully beat back this proposal.”

This week, the Senate considered the Every Child Achieves Act on the floor, which would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, the ESEA was considered at the time the most far-reaching federal overhaul of the national education system. Its purpose was to provide quality education to students of all income levels by providing grants and federal resources to schools across the nation, particularly to districts serving low-income students. Since its enactment, the ESEA has been reauthorized every several years, with substantial changes being made as federal education policy has changed. The most recent, notable change was made in 2001 when the law was reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In April 2015, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously passed a bipartisan rewrite of the ESEA called the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015. This legislation was meant to address many of the shortcomings of NCLB. This bill was passed in the Senate this week.

One of the amendments considered could have had a devastating effect on the New York public education system and could have left millions of students and teachers without the critical resources needed to succeed. Schumer led a public campaign against the particular amendment, sponsored by Senator Richard Burr [R-NC], as it would change the formula currently used to determine Title I funding allocations for state and local education agencies.

Specifically, this amendment would have radically and immediately changed the formula that is used by the federal Department of Education to allocate Title I funding to K-12 schools. Schumer explained that, incorporated into the ESEA are several key provisions that cover a wide spectrum of federal education policy, including a critical provision called Title I. The Title I program allows the federal Department of Education to distribute federal funds to school districts and local education agencies (LEA) that serve a high number or percentage of low-income students.

Schumer said these Title I funds are the largest source of federal funding for elementary and secondary education, and are key to every state’s ability to improve educational opportunities. These funds are particularly important for children across New York State, where approximately 687 school districts receive more than $1 billion. 

In New York City alone, the 5 boroughs receive more than $703 million in Title I funding. Without these funds, Schumer said New York school districts would have been financially overwhelmed and unable to provide critical services to students who most need them. If cut, Schumer said that it could have forced school districts across New York State that have long-received Title I funds to lay off teachers, cut supplemental educational programs, or make other dramatic cuts to their services provided to students. 

In New York City, the amendment would have cut education funding by $169,423,000 or 24.06%. 

Schumer has publicly opposed any amendment that cuts federal Title I education funding, but this amendment is particularly damaging. Title I education funds are in part based on a state’s average per pupil expenditure. States that invest significant resources in their education system are rewarded and incentivized to do so through the federal formula. In addition, another part of the Title I formula is an effort factor that looks at how much a state spends relative to per capita income (PCI).  States that spend a high percentage on education relative to PCI are rewarded by taking effort into account.  The proposed amendment would both remove the state average per pupil expenditure and the effort factor in the Title I formula. This means that this change hurts states that both spend a lot on education and states that have high effort relative to PCI. 

This amendment would have eliminated much of the formula funding structure, specifically the PCI provisions and the ‘effort’ factor that still rewards poorer states for showing a willingness to invest in education. It would instead reward states that do not invest as much in education, in essence taking money from low-income students in one state and give it to low-income students in another state. Schumer said this methodology is flawed and not the right way to change federal policy.

That Would Lose Title I Funding (All of NYS) : 687

                             Total Number of School Districts That Would Have Lost Title I Funding (All of NYS) : 687*

                                       Total Title I Funding That Would Have Been Cut (All of NYS) : $303,827,000*

Total Title u

New York City Money That Would Have Been At-Risk ($ measured in thousands)




Estimated FY2015 grant calculated by ED

Estimated FY2015 grant under proposed changes

Difference (Col. F - Col. E)

Percentage difference (Col. G / Col. E)


Bronx County






Kings County





New York

New York County






Queens County






Richmond County












* Data on Title 1 funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education