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Campaign for Fiscal Equity
 

Tue, Feb 19, 2008

Cash Clash Over School Spending

By Erin Einhorn, NY Daily News

As city officials and schools advocates team to pressure Albany for more education dollars, they will also be fighting each other over how that money should be spent.

Advocates - including local pols and community groups in a newly formed coalition - say they want more of the state's funds to be targeted on the city's worst schools.

"There were years of court proceedings with lots of evidence showing there were very needy schools and very needy kids not getting what they need," said Geri Palast, who heads the Campaign for Fiscal Equity organization.

But Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein prefer a formula that drives dollars to what they say are underfunded schools, regardless of whether they're successful or failing.
"At a time when we're facing budget cuts in the city, I want the maximum degree of flexibility so that our schools are not hurt," Klein told a parents group last week.

A similar dispute played out last year after Gov. Spitzer announced his Contracts for Excellence program, which requires districts to spend some state dollars on class-size reduction or other efforts in struggling schools.

City and state education officials squabbled for months over how the city would spend its Contracts money and, according to an Education Department memo obtained by the Daily News, the city is determined to wrest more control this year.

"This is something we should be arguing heavily," the memo said.

with Carrie Melago


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 >