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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Thu, Jun 24, 2004

CFE Submits Special Master Names To Court

Forges Ahead on School Funding Reform in Absence of Legislative Action

In response to the court’s request, CFE’s attorneys today submitted to Justice DeGrasse the names of five individuals to be considered for the panel of special masters the court intends to appoint to assess the state’s compliance in the CFE school funding reform case. Although CFE will continue to press the governor and the legislative leaders to achieve a statewide solution before the court-imposed July 30 deadline, it is strengthening its preparations for returning to court if there is no compliance with the Court of Appeals’ order by the deadline date.

“The legislature may be adjourning for the summer, but CFE is not. We are intensifying our efforts to ensure students’ right to a decent education,” stated Michael A. Rebell, CFE Executive Director and Counsel. “If our leaders in Albany can’t get their act together, CFE will do everything it can to assist the court to ‘hit the ground running’ on July 30, 2004.”

Justice DeGrasse has indicated that as of the July 30 court-ordered deadline he will appoint a panel of three special masters to assist him in examining the state’s compliance with the CFE order. CFE’s list of candidates, comprised of education finance and policy experts as well as distinguished attorneys, includes Robert Berne, Richard Elmore, Carol Bellamy, Alvin Thornton, and John Kiernan.

• Robert Berne, a Senior Vice President at NYU, is one of the nation’s leading scholars of public education policy and finance, and served as executive director of two major state commissions on education finance and governance reform.

• Richard Elmore, a Professor at Harvard’s School of Education, is a nationally-recognized expert in education policy, having published for almost thirty years on teacher quality, assessments, accountability, learning standards, achievement gaps, and school restructuring.

• Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF, previously served as Director of the Peace Corps, a New York State Senator, and President of the New York City Council.

• Alvin Thornton, Associate Provost and Professor at Howard University, chaired a Maryland commission (“the Thornton Commission”), which developed recommendations to improve the state’s school funding system.

• John Kiernan, litigation partner with Debevoise and Plimpton LLC, is Chair of Legal Services for New York City as well as a director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

“These are some of the most qualified people in the country,” Rebell stated. “They understand school funding and the educational challenges facing New York.”

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 >