The formula for dividing up New York's aid to local school districts is never without controversy, but the policy choices embedded in the 2012-13 awards might be especially explosive.

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The Board of Regents is scheduled to vote Tuesday on returning to the "foundation aid" model, which awards more money to the poorer districts so that all students can have the same educational opportunities, no matter where they reside. The approach, while providing a base line of funding to all districts, inevitably reduces the money sent to schools in the more affluent suburbs.

This approach caused an uproar in 2007 when then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer supported it to thwart the legislature from dividing the pot according to regional clout. In tougher financial times, the fight for equity vs. fair share will be loud, but it shouldn't get nasty.