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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Wed, Nov 12, 2008

State Budget Axe Comes Down Hard On Education

Marcia Kramer, WCBS-TV New York, Ch. 2

There's a human face to the education initiatives Gov. Paterson wants to enact. CBS 2 HD caught up with student and education advocates who are not happy.

It didn't take long. About an hour after Paterson sought to raise tuition at the state and city universities by $600 the protestors were out on the street at Hunter College, a CUNY school.

"No tuition hike; no budget cuts!" they chanted.

And even though tuition at New York's public colleges is the lowest in the region and 25 percent below the national average, students said they will have to work harder at outside jobs and their work will suffer.

"Raising my tuition will mean I have to work extra hours," Karem Dib of Astoria said. "Time off from studying and doing my homework. I would be just spending more time at work, less at school. Not a good idea right now."

"Obviously, I don't like it," added Yaro Kolomiyets of Sunnyside. "Me and my parents are having a hard time paying tuition as it is."

"CUNY tuition used to be free," Igor Draskovic of Astoria said. "Why can't it be free again?"

School aid is also on the chopping block. Schools throughout the state will get $585 million less than they were planning on, but are still getting more than last year.

New York City schools will get $255 million less, but, again, that's more than last year.

Education advocates who have fought for more aid to the city are furious.

"We still have 200,000 kids in New York City who do not meet standards for reading," said Helaine Doran of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. "We have one out of two kids who don't get a high school diploma within four years. There's 500,000 kids in overcrowded schools in New York City."

But budget experts said the governor is doing the right thing.

"I'm not surprised by all the caterwauling," said E.J. McMahon of the Manhattan Institute. "I'm sure we'll hear more of it but the sky is not going to fall."

The fate of the school cuts and other proposals made by the governor on Wednesday are up in the air, although both the Senate and Assembly are due in Albany next Tuesday for a special session to deal with the budget. Senate Republicans, who will lose control of the upper house in January, are reportedly balking at doing anything.


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 >