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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Thu, Sep 4, 2003

Campaign For Fiscal Equity Urges Commission To Adopt Transparent Practices And Include State Eduction Community

CFE fears Governor-appointed Commission is off to wrong start

While the Campaign for Fiscal Equity supports the Governor’s establishment of a Commission with a broad, statewide mandate, CFE is concerned that the Commission is off to the wrong start—stirring up political rivalries after being established in a shroud of secrecy and without adequate participation from the statewide education community. Three immediate problems must be addressed.

First, the composition of the Commission is currently too limited, with not enough K-12 educators, and an absence of school board members, rural representatives, parent groups, advocacy groups— and legislators, representatives of the NYC Department of Education and the State Board of Regents. Second, the Governor must bring Mayor Bloomberg, the Chancellor’s office, the Legislature, the Board of Regents and relevant advocacy and education groups into the process. Finally, the Commission must adopt a transparent process that invites public engagement.

“These problems only serve to cripple a commission whose potential to remedy education finance throughout the state is great,” said CFE’s Executive Director Michael A. Rebell.

In order to create a transparent, inclusive process, CFE calls on Governor Pataki and Commission Chairman Frank Zarb to immediately convene a summit meeting for policy-makers and education stakeholders—including legislative leaders, the State Education Commission, the NYC Chancellor, and representatives from education advocacy, parent and community groups. At the meeting the following should be discussed:

1) How to include individuals from the excluded groups among the Commission’s remaining

2) The establishment of a system to ensure ongoing consultation and public engagement as the commission moves toward its March deadline and assurance that all of the Commission’s meetings will be transparent and open to the public;

3) A priority ordering of the Commission’s work that will, among other things:

a.) Recommend by late November the amount of additional funding needed in the next fiscal year to address immediate crisis issues identified by the Court of Appeals, such as teacher
quality, class size, overcrowding, and computer access.

b.) Utilize the extensive data and analysis developed in the record of CFE v. State of New York and in the New York Adequate Study currently being conducted by leading national experts.

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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 >