David A. Little, Esq., Chief Operating Officer
Longtime education advocate David Little has been named as the new Chief Operating Officer of REFIT (Reform Educational Funding Inequities Today). REFIT is an association of school districts that are negatively affected by the state’s current education aid funding formula. Little also heads the Rural Schools Association of New York State, which has a similar advocacy focus. Prior to these positions, Little served as Director of Governmental Relations of the New York State School Boards Association for 15 years. He began his career in public service by serving as legal counsel first in the State Assembly and then in the Senate, where he was Home Rule Counsel and Counsel to the Majority Leader for Local Government. Little has been a county legislator and regional planning commissioner, as well as serving as a school board president for a decade. He also served as national chair of the Conference of State Association Legislative Staff. Dave received his undergraduate degree from Wittenberg University and his juris doctor from the Capital University Law School.
According to Little, “REFIT has a long and proud tradition of bringing equitable change to our state’s approach to education funding. Despite spending the most of all the states, New York continues to distribute that money in what many experts agree is the most inequitable fashion possible. Your zip code should not determine the quality of your education. Particularly now that the GEA is a sad part of our past, our job is to create an approach to education funding that will preserve the homes of local taxpayers and meet the educational needs of our children. New York State needs a funding formula that accurately assesses what a community can contribute to the education of its students and then supplies the difference between that amount and what it takes for the state to uphold its constitutional responsibility to provide those children a sound education.”
Little goes on to state that New York’s current approach to public education funding is “our generation’s great disgrace. Rather than doing an end run around educational quality by throwing money at charter schools, private school tax credits and other schemes, New York State must uphold the constitutional rights of its young residents.” Noting that “revolution would ensue if the state ever chose to suspend its residents’ constitutional rights of freedom of the press or freedom of religion and yet it somehow feels free to violate our state’s constitutional provisions on educational funding. You don’t ignore constitutional rights because you’re a little short this month.”
With David Little’s hiring, REFIT intends to expand its role in advocating for equitable education funding, both in educating the public on the impact of the state’s underfunding of our schools and in bringing the need for reform to state leaders.