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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Tue, Jun 7, 2005

Assemblyman Sanders Introduces Schools for New York's Future Act for Passage in Current Legislative Session

New law would deliver funding to schools statewide in time for the next school year

Assemblyman Steven Sanders, chairman of the education committee, has introduced the Schools for New York’s Future Act into the New York State Assembly. Passage in the current legislative session would deliver funding to schools statewide in time for the next school year. The bill was introduced on Friday with the support of 60 co-sponsors from across the state.

The bill’s passage this legislative session could defeat the governor’s appeal of the latest order in the long-running CFE case and finally secure for all students their constitutional right to the opportunity for a sound basic education.

“It’s now up to the state senate to follow suit and introduce the bill in its chamber, and for the governor to immediately work with both houses to fund the bill through a supplemental education budget,” said CFE Executive Director and Counsel Michael A. Rebell. “Their failure to act on this year’s final opportunity for action would be further proof of their cynical neglect of the state’s schoolchildren. It’s still not too late for next year.”

Drafted by CFE and a coalition of statewide organizations, the Schools for New York’s Future Act lays out a visionary school-funding plan. It provides substantial increases in aid to hundreds of districts across the state and comprehensive reforms to the state’s unconstitutional funding formula. Specifically, the bill would provide an additional $8.6 billion in operating expenses statewide; an additional $10 billion to relieve overcrowding, reduce class sizes, and other facilities projects; a fair, simplified foundation formula that would align funding with student need and ensure predictability; and enhanced accountability that will guarantee that the influx of funds is wisely spent.

“Coincidentally, the day the bill was introduced, the Kansas Supreme Court issued a stern ruling in a school-funding case that sends yet another clear signal to the governor that his appeal has no merit,” said Mr. Rebell. “The bill now in the New York legislature is an opportunity for the governor to drop his appeal and do the right thing for the children of New York State.”

The Kansas decision was based on a rigorous review of other state supreme courts that have dealt with failure on the part of state governments to comply with school-funding mandates. The Kansas Supreme court held that “while it is for the General Assembly to legislate a remedy, courts do possess the authority to enforce their orders…to ensure that it is then constitutional.” In New York, like Kansas, legislators budgeted a gravely inadequate increase for education for 2005-2006, defying for a second year in a row a mandate from the state’s highest court.

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 >