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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Tue, Oct 10, 2006

CFE Lawyers Urge Court to Issue an Enforceable Order Directing Lawmakers to Abide by Previous Rulings to Provide New York's Children With a Sound Basic Education

CFE also asks the Court to Require Major Accountability Reforms to ensure that Additional Funds Are Not Wasted

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) today appeared before the New York State Court of Appeals to urge the Court to issue a clear and enforceable order that would bring the long-running CFE school-funding case to a close. In 2003, the Court ordered the State to reform the state education finance system, but the state’s political leaders failed to reach agreement on how to comply with the Constitutional mandate from the State’s highest Court. A powerful decision from the state's highest court would break this log jam and specify the cost of fixing the educational deficiencies identified by the Court in 2003. CFE has also asked the Court to require major accountability reforms to ensure that additional funds are not wasted.
"New York State has not yet fully complied with the order from the Court of Appeals. While we always remain hopeful that our political leaders will take it upon themselves to comply with the Court’s order, past history has indicated that without clear, specific direction from the Court, New York’s public school children will continue to be denied a sound basic education,” said CFE Executive Director Geri D. Palast.
CFE’s pro bono counsel, Joseph Wayland, a partner at the New York law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and CFE Of Counsel Michael Rebell, urged the court to affirm an order from an appellate court that requires the governor and the legislature to add between $4.7 billion and $5.63 billion in operating aid, phased in over four years, to New York City's schools. They also called on the highest court to order strong accountability measures to ensure that when additional dollars begin to flow they are spent in ways that make a difference in the lives of the children who need them most.
In its 2003 order, the Court of Appeals mandated extensive reforms to the school finance system to ensure every New York child a meaningful high school education. The State added substantial increases to fund capital construction costs this year but failed to budget the operating aid dollars and accountability reforms the city needs to run schools effectively. CFE filed its appeal to the Court of Appeals in April to ensure full compliance with the Court’s order.
Groups filing briefs in support of the CFE position include: The Alliance for Quality Education; the City of New York; the United Federation of Teachers; the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Caucus; the Bar Association of the City of New York; the New York City Council; the New York State School Boards Association; and the Brennan Center for Justice.

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 >