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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Wed, Mar 23, 2005

CFE Releases Schools for New York’s Future Act

Plan would increase education funding by $8.6 billion over four years

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity released the Schools for New York’s Future Act today, its visionary education funding plan that will increase statewide education funding by $8.6 billion over four years and establish a transparent, simplified funding system. Every district in the state will benefit from the act’s foundation formula, which will deliver districts predictability in the way their schools are funded, while hundreds of districts will see substantial increases in state aid. The act will offset the paltry sums proposed for education by the senate, the assembly, and the governor this year and will meet all aspects of the courts’ orders. No district would suffer any reduction in future state aid allocations.

“The governor and the legislature must act now and immediately adopt the Schools for New York’s Future Act so that all children in New York State are provided their opportunity for a sound basic education this year,” said CFE Executive Director and Counsel Michael A. Rebell. “By choosing political expedience over justice, Albany continues to play politics with the lives of hundreds of thousands of New York’s children. Together, with organizations across the state, we are calling on the governor and the legislature to step up to the plate and deliver our kids the resources they need without any further delay.”

The Schools for New York’s Future Act will counter the State’s continual defiance of the courts and blatant disregard for the educational needs of our children. After the State failed to enact any of the reforms that were ordered by the Court of Appeals in June 2003, State Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse appointed a panel of judicial referees to study the problem and issue recommendations. On November 30, 2004, the panel concluded that New York City schools need an additional $5.6 billion each year for operating aid and $9.2 billion for facilities. On February 15, Justice DeGrasse adopted all of the panel’s recommendations and gave the state 90 days to implement them.

Long-committed to statewide reform, CFE and a coalition of organizations formed a task force and drafted a bill that transformed the court’s New York City-focused order into statewide legislation. The act will eliminate much of the complexity of the present funding system and will let parents and the public know how much money is being allocated to districts and where it is going. Specifically, it will

* provide an additional $8.6 billion for operating expenses to be provided to districts across the state, phased-in over four years;
* provide districts across the state, on average, a 77% increase in their funding, with New York City receiving an increase of 102% and the big four cities, on average, receiving an increase of 77.5%;
* provide an additional $10 billion for improving capital facilities over five years;
* create a transparent, simplified statewide funding formula that consolidates over 30 existing state aid categories into a single funding stream;
* create a clear, fair formula for each district’s state/local share that is based on the local district’s ability to pay and its relative enrollment of students with high rates of poverty;
* provide an enhanced accountability system that will guarantee that the influx of funds is used in ways that actually provide all students a genuine opportunity for a sound basic education; and
* ensure that there is extensive public engagement of parents, teachers, administrators, and school-based planning and shared decision-making teams throughout the planning process.

CFE will introduce the Schools for New York’s Future Act during the 2005 legislative session. The act has already been endorsed by organizations across the state, including the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy (SCAA), and the Rochester Board of Education.

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 >