David Little - New Chief Operating Officer of R.E.F.I.T.

Reform Educational Financing Inequities Today (R.E.F.I.T.) is delighted to announce that longtime education advocate David Little has been named as the new Chief Operating Officer of R.E.F.I.T.  R.E.F.I.T. is a consortium of school districts that have joined together to secure for their students and communities an equitable share of New York State Aid to Education.

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, “R.E.F.I.T. 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.”  

R.E.F.I.T. President Susan Lipman said, “With David Little’s hiring, R.E.F.I.T. 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.”  Since its inception, R.E.F.I.T. has vigorously lobbied the Legislature to reform the State Aid formula and continues to advocate using all available means, including legal action, to obtain the equal protection that is guaranteed by the New York State’s Constitution for the students who reside in high tax/low wealth districts.