Do a Larger Share of Students Attending the City’s Specialized High Schools Live in Neighborhoods With Higher Median Incomes than Those Attending the City’s Other High Schools?

April 22nd, 2015

The city’s Department of Education runs nine specialized high schools that are among the most selective of the city’s public high schools. Eight schools admit students based solely on the score attained on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test and admission to LaGuardia High School is based on an audition. All 8th graders and first-time 9th graders who are New York City residents are eligible to take the test. The score required for acceptance depends on the school and varies each year.

IBO used the address of each student attending a New York City public high school in the 2012-2013 school year to identify the census tract in which each student lived and the median household income for households residing in the tract. We then compared the median incomes of the neighborhoods where students lived who were attending the specialized high schools with those of students attending all other public high schools.

  • Students in the specialized high schools came from census tracts where the median household income averaged $62,457 compared with $46,392 for students in other high schools. (All dollar amounts are reported in 2012 dollars).
  • If we rank the census tracts by their median income and then divide the tracts into equal fifths (quintiles), we observe large differences between the share of students in specialized high schools and other high schools from each quintile.

 

  • Only 11 percent of specialized high school students came from the lowest income census tracts (those where the median household income is less than or equal to $33,862) whereas 30 percent of students in other high schools came from these neighborhoods.
  • Twenty-six percent of specialized high school students reside in the top income quintile (the 22 percent of census tracts with median incomes over $81,650) compared with just 7 percent of those attending other high schools
  • Overall, the share of students attending specialized high schools increases steadily and then drops marginally in the two highest quintiles, as we move from the census tracts with lower median household incomes to the census tracts with higher median incomes. For students attending other Department of Education high schools, the pattern is the opposite: the share of students declines as median income increases.

 

Prepared by Stephanie Kranes
New York City Independent Budget Office

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Is the City Spending at Least 1 Percent of Its Federal Title 1-A Funds on Parental Involvement?

April 2nd, 2015

Federal Title I-A funds provide assistance to schools and local educational agencies (in New York City, the Department of Education) that serve a large number or share of students from low-income families. Under federal rules, school systems that receive at least $500,000 in Title I-A funds must use at least 1 percent of their annual allocation for activities that promote parental involvement. Title 1-A requires parental input into determining the activities provided as well as their implementation. Although schools also use additional sources to fund parental involvement, only Title 1-A requires that parents be involved in planning for the use of these funds.

  • In school year 2013-2014, 1,292 schools (nearly 79 percent) of the city’s public schools received Title 1-A funds.
  • Schools receiving Title I-A funds collectively spent $11.2 million on parental involvement activities in 2013-2014—more than double the required minimum expenditure of $5.2 million for the Department of Education.

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  • The education department gives schools a targeted amount of 1 percent of their Title 1-A funds to spend on parental involvement in the department’s school budget allocations.
  • In school year 2013-2014, 10 percent of Title 1-A schools with parental involvement spending targets self-reported spending below the amount targeted and nearly 71 percent reported spending more than their assigned target amount.

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  • Nearly 70 percent of schools receiving Title I-A funds were targeted to spend between $1,000 and $5,000 for parental involvement.
  • For schools spending in this range, the expected expenditure equaled about 0.1-0.2 percent of an average school budget.
  • Lack of standardized reporting limits analysis by type of expenditure.

Prepared by Liza Pappas & Yolanda Smith
New York City Independent Budget Office

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The Public Assistance Caseload: More Job Training, Fewer Punitive Actions Under the de Blasio Administration?

February 12th, 2015

In October 2014, the city’s Human Resources Administration announced a new employment plan for public assistance recipients. The plan, which was already being phased in before the formal announcement, makes the agency’s employment programs less punitive and puts more emphasis on education and training. Some of the changes can already be seen by comparing participation data from December 2013 with December 2014.

Share of Caseload in Various Work Participation and Preparation Classifications

  • The number cash assistance cases under or facing sanctions for violating the employment requirements fell from 19,632 (19.6 percent of all cases) to 14,473 (13.6 percent).
  • Cases with the household head in an education, training ,or job search program increased from 3,347 (3.3 percent) to 5,485 (5.1 percent).
  • The number of cases classified as temporarily unengageable jumped from 9,119 (9.1 percent) to 19,823 (18.6 percent), primarily due to a big increase in the number of cases being evaluated for WeCARE, a program designed to help clients overcome medical and/or mental health barriers to employment.
  • The number participants in the long controversial Work Experience Program, which requires participants to work for their cash and food stamp benefits, also decreased somewhat from 10,661 (10.6 percent) to 9,786 (9.2 percent). The plan calls for gradually phasing out this program.

Prepared by Paul Lopatto
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: Human Resources Administration, Weekly Caseload Engagement Status Reports for January 5, 2014 and January 4, 2015
NOTES: The numbers exclude cases categorized as indefinitely unengageable including child only cases, and those in which the household head is receiving Supplemental Security Income, is age 60 or over, or is receiving services from the HIV/AIDS Services Administration. They also exclude a small number of cases categorized as unengaged. Cases are classified by their primary activity.

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How Much Would the City’s Annual Contribution Be Today If Aid for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Capital Projects Had Kept Pace with Inflation?

January 22nd, 2015

The city makes an annual payment to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to support the authority’s capital program. NYPIRG’s Straphangers Campaign asked IBO to review the annual contributions to see if they have kept pace with inflation.

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• The city’s contribution to the MTA’s first five-year capital plan (1982-1986) averaged $136 million a year. In nominal terms, the city’s contribution was highest during the 1987-1991 and 1992-1999 plans and has remained fairly constant at around $100 million per year since 2000.
• If the city had instead decided to keep its contribution at the 1982-1986 level in real (inflation-adjusted) terms, the contribution would have reached $363 million in 2014, and provide more than $1.8 billion for the proposed 2015-2019 capital plan.

• The city’s contribution to the MTA’s 1982-1986 capital plan averaged 1.2 percent of total city-funded expenses over the five-year period. Over time the city’s contribution as a share of total city-funded expenses has declined dramatically. The city’s contribution to the MTA capital plan in 2010-2014 averaged just 0.2 percent of total city-funded expenses a year.

New York City and state also provide indirect support to the capital program through dedicated tax revenue—in most cases, revenues predominately collected in the 12-county MTA region—that flow into the MTA’s operating budget. These revenues, which have grown substantially over the past three decades, are used to pay debt service on MTA bonds that finance capital projects as well as the operating expenses of the transit system. IBO estimates that New York City residents alone generated around $3.1 billion in city and state tax revenue for the MTA in 2014, compared with just $235 million in 1983.

Prepared by Alan Treffeisen
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: IBO analysis of data from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Moody’s Analytics, and the New York City Comptroller’s Office
NOTES: Inflation measured by the local government GDP deflator for the New York City metropolitan region. IBO compares the city’s contribution to the MTA on a calendar year basis to the city’s fiscal year expenditures.

 

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How Many Students Can Enter a Gifted & Talented Program in New York City?

December 18th, 2014

In the 2013-2014 school year, approximately 36,000 students took the test to determine their eligibility for a seat in a New York City public school Gifted & Talented program for the 2014-2015 school year. The test is grade-specific and any student entering grades K through 3 can potentially take it.

The Department of Education defines the criteria for acceptance to a Gifted & Talented, or G&T, program. Students must take two tests measuring their verbal and nonverbal skills. The scores of these tests are combined to find a single rank for the student based on their age and national norms. Students can apply to a district-level G&T program if they rank above the 90th percentile, and they can apply to any of the five citywide G&T programs if they rank above the 97th percentile. Students receive offers based on their ranked scores and their school preferences.

  • Roughly 5,400 incoming kindergarteners who took the G&T test in school year 2013-2014 (about 40 percent of the test-takers) surpassed the 90th percentile, making them eligible to apply for a G&T program—1,500 of them achieved the highest score.
  • But the school system had G&T program seats for less than half of the qualifying kindergarteners, only a total of 2,200 seats were available across the city. This included 273 seats in the five most selective citywide programs.
  • This gap between the number of students meeting the official criteria and the spots available has meant that in recent years most of the G&T programs can only accommodate students ranking closest to the 99th percentile.

Prepared by Diana Zamora Bonnet
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: Department of Education

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How Has the City’s Budget for Public Education Changed Since 2000?

December 10th, 2014

  • Both total spending on public education and spending on Department of Education public school operations grew steadily from 2000-2010.
  • Spending on Department of Education operations has declined since then, while funding for charter schools and pass-through payments to nonpublic schools was greater in 2014 than in 2010.
  • Pension costs, payments to special education providers, and charter schools have been the major drivers of spending outside Department of Education public school operations.

The rise in per pupil spending on public education, including charter and nonpublic schools, was driven by growth in city funds.
State-funded per pupil spending increased steadily from 2004 until declining in 2009 with the onset of the recession.
Federal funds were largely flat on a per pupil basis except for the years the city received money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

For more historical information dating to 1990 on school funding and spending, see IBO’s fiscal history table.

Prepared by Yolanda Smith
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: New York City Comptroller Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports; Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget

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Did the Main Reasons Families Were Found Eligible for the City’s Homeless Shelters in 2002-2012 Vary Depending Upon the Type of Housing They Previously Had?

December 2nd, 2014

Over the years 2002-2012, about 60 percent of the more than 75,000 homeless families with children entering the city’s shelter system had either a building with rent regulated apartments (43 percent) or a New York City Housing Authority development (16 percent) listed as their last address prior to shelter. The other families came from unregulated private housing (39 percent) or specialized facilities (2 percent), including residential rehabilitation centers. There was some variation in the leading reasons families were approved for shelter that depended upon which type of housing families last lived in.

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  • Of the more than 32,000 family shelter entrants in 2002-2012 who previously lived in buildings containing rent-regulated units, nearly a third were found eligible because of eviction. Likewise, just over a third of the nearly 30,000 families that entered the shelters from unregulated private housing were also found eligible due to eviction.
  • Overcrowding was the second most common reason families last living in rent-regulated housing were found eligible for shelter. For those families coming from unregulated private housing, domestic violence edged out overcrowding as the second most frequent reason for shelter eligibility.
  • For the more than 12,000 family shelter entries that had public housing as their most recent address, the most frequent reason they were found eligible for shelter was overcrowding, closely followed by domestic violence, the second most common reason.

For more details on the living situations of families before entering the shelter system, see IBO’s recent report: “The Rising Number of Homeless Families in NYC, 2002-2012: A Look at Why Families Were Granted Shelter, the Housing They Had Lived in & Where They Came From.

 New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: IBO analysis of data provided by Department of Homeless Services, New York City Housing Authority, Department of Finance, and the New York
State Division of Homes and Community Renewal
NOTE: IBO was able to match prior address data for 79 percent of the 95,906 shelter entry records during the 2002-2012 study period. Totals may not sum due to rounding.

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Are New York City’s Part-Time, Low-Income Workers More Reliant On Medicaid than Similar Workers in Other Parts of the State?

November 6th, 2014

More than half (51.3 percent) of the state’s lowest income part-time workers—those with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level—resided in New York City in 2012.

  • A greater reliance on Medicaid among New York City’s lowest income part-time workers may be linked to their lower rate of enrollment in employer-sponsored health insurance compared with the rest of the state.
  • A smaller share of low-income, part-time workers was uninsured in the city than in the downstate suburbs. But an even smaller share of these workers was uninsured upstate, where the rate of enrollment in employer-sponsored health insurance was highest in the state.

For more details on regional differences in health insurance coverage across New York State, see IBO’s recent report “Medicaid, Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance & the Uninsured in New York: Regional Differences in Health Insurance Coverage.”

New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCE: American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample 2012
NOTES: Percentages do not sum to 100. Direct purchase insurance and Medicare are excluded, and individuals may have both employer-sponsored health insurance and Medicaid. The federal poverty level for a family of four in 2012 was about $23,500.

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Has the Long-Term Increase in Food Stamp Usage Finally Come to an End?

October 8th, 2014

 

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  • From June 2006 through June 2013, the number of New York City residents receiving food stamps (now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) increased by 71.1 percent, from 1.1 million to 1.9 million. From June 2013 through June 2014, however, the number of recipients fell by 118,000, or 6.3 percent.
  • Recent decreases in the number of food stamp recipients likely reflect improvements in the local labor market.
    Nationwide, over the same June 2013-June 2014 period, the number of individuals receiving food stamps fell by a more modest 2.6 percent.
  • As a result of the decreased caseload as well as federal reductions in per family grant payments beginning in November 2013, total food stamp grants to city residents decreased by $244 million, or 6.9 percent, from fiscal year 2013 to 2014.

 

Prepared by Paul Lopatto
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: IBO analysis of data from the New York City Human Resources Administration, the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, and the United States Department of Agriculture

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Is There Another Way to Tally City Budget Surpluses?

September 16th, 2014

The surplus as reported in the city’s budget does not reflect all the uses of funds that could be counted as part of a year’s surplus. These uncounted uses include the transfer of funds to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust and the setting aside of funds needed to pay principal and interest on outstanding bonds in advance of when payments are due, also known as debt defeasance.

  • In 5 of the past 10 years, including fiscal year 2014, the city has had budget surpluses higher than reported.
  • Over the 10-year period, total surpluses, including funds transferred to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust or set aside for debt defeasance, have ranged from as low as $2.5 billion in 2012 to a high of $7.5 billion in 2007.
  • In addition to the reported surplus of $4.7 billion in 2007, an additional $2.8 billion was used for the defeasance of outstanding debt and the transfer of funds to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust.

Prepared by Frank Posillico
New York City Independent Budget Office

SOURCES: Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports; Adopted 2015 Financial Plan
NOTES: Debt defeasance includes General Obligation, Transitional Finance Authority, and Jay Street Development Corporation debt service. The surplus for 2014 is projected.

 

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