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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Mon, Mar 7, 2011

AQE: Budget worse than we thought.

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Well, maybe not worse than previously thought, but the Alliance for Quality Education’s Billy Easton, who like lots of people, has spent much of today combing through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 30-day budget amendments, notes that money allocated for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, the landmark funding case where the courts ruled that New York City had been shortchanged when it comes to school aid, now labors under the same constraints placed upon general state aid — that is increases will be limited to the rate of inflation.

What’s got Easton and others worked up is that was tucked into the budget’s Appropriation bill, which means lawmakers can’t change the language describing how the money was spent (the other type of budget bill, Article 7, can be changed by lawmakers. But lawmakers can only add, subtract or eliminate monies in an Appropriation bill).

Cuomo has signaled he would do this — he’s also doing it as a way to enact Medicaid reforms that might not be popular with various interest groups. The full effect of this legislative/budgeting tactic, though is just now starting to hit home with numerous Capitol players.

Here is what Easton has to say about it:

“The new multi-year projection does nothing to change the fact that Governor Cuomo is proposing devastating school cuts right now,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education. “Don’t talk about what might happen next year, if a kid in first grade does not learn to read he or she is behind forever. If we throw out $5 billion in revenues by cutting taxes for the wealthy, the money the Governor is talking about for next year will not even exist. This amendment would actually cap increases in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity funding for the neediest schools at inflation thus ensuring that the 2007 promise to our kids could never be fulfilled. Using an appropriations bill to push the cap on funding for school equity amounts to an almost unilateral action by the Executive to sidestep the normal process for amending the law.”

Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE Litigation CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the state’s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >