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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Thu, Jun 17, 2004

CFE Rally For Public Schools Unites Hundreds

Students Deliver Thousands of Letters Calling on Governor Pataki to Support Their Schools

Hundreds of students, teachers and concerned citizens filled Madison Square Park at a rally today to demand more funding for New York City’s public schools. As part of the My School, My City, Our Future campaign, sponsored by CFE and the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), students also delivered thousands of personal letters to Governor Pataki’s office outlining the basic needs of their schools.

“Many of my classes don’t have enough textbooks,” wrote Vicent Dao, a seventh grade student at M.S. 158 in Queens. “When we do have sufficient textbooks, they are usually covered with gum and outdated.”

Working to ensure that all children have access to a meaningful education, CFE and AQE organized the rally to send a loud, clear message to Albany that New York City needs more school funding this year. “Our kids need a lifeline now,” stated Michael A. Rebell, CFE Executive Director and Counsel. “The current talk of delaying compliance with the Court of Appeals order heartlessly ignores the tragic consequences on children’s lives of politics as usual in Albany.”

Concerned that lawmakers have done little to change the state’s school funding system since it was declared unconstitutional last summer, CFE and AQE strengthened their call for a $2.5 billion down payment for education to meet student’s immediate needs. As part of the total $9.5 billion needed by New York State’s schools, a down payment would help provide smaller classes, better buildings, libraries, science labs, computers, and pre-kindergarten programs in the coming year.

At the June 17 rally supporters also called on politicians to stop manipulating school funding and to act immediately to fully and fairly fund education. The fifty complicated formulas currently used to distribute state funding force schools to play a guessing game each year about whether and when they'll be able to hire teachers, provide pre-kindergarten, or guarantee textbooks for each of their students.

Although CFE is pushing Albany to reform school funding before the court-imposed July 30 deadline, it is also preparing to return to court in the absence of meaningful changes and funding increases.

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 >