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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Tue, Apr 19, 2005

CFE to File Motion to Invalidate Stay on Governor's Appeal

Clock must continue to tick in the fight to deliver resources and facilities to high-need schools and students

Attorneys for CFE filed a motion today in state supreme court to lift the “automatic stay” that went into effect on Monday, April 18, after the State filed an appeal of Justice DeGrasse’s court order. On February 15, the judge directed the state to provide New York City’s schools billions more for operating aid and construction costs—and gave the governor 90 days from the official notice of entry, March 22, to implement it.

The governor’s appeal stopped the clock with about 60 days remaining in the 90-day grace period. CFE has asked the court to lift the stay and keep the clock ticking so that New York’s children are not consigned to another school year without the resources and facilities they need to succeed. In the event that the appeal goes forward, CFE urged the court to do so on a highly expedited schedule—by July 1, 2005, to secure relief by the upcoming school year.
“The appeal was filed with one purpose in mind: to cover up the State’s continuing disregard of the Court of Appeals’ mandate in CFE v. State. CFE strongly believes that lifting the stay is likely to finally induce the governor and the legislature to comply with the court mandate and put an end to their cynical delay tactics,” said CFE Executive Director and Counsel Michael A. Rebell.
The CFE motion details the frivolous nature of the appeal. Filed solely to further delay the State’s compliance with Court of Appeals’ mandate, it lacks any legal merit since all legal and factual issues relevant to the case have been definitively determined by the Court of Appeals. Even if the governor believes that the funding increase ordered by Justice DeGrasse is too high, the governor remains under a specific mandate from the state’s highest court to immediately provide students a constitutionally acceptable school-funding system.

Further, state appellants are permitted the technical right to file an appeal solely to preserve the status quo and prevent unjustifiable harm to the public. In CFE v. State, preserving the status quo would mean upholding the State’s defiance of the Court of Appeals’ mandate, a constitutional violation that will yield undue harm to over one million schoolchildren. Courts in the past have lifted stays when it has been determined that the stay would cause irreparable hardship against litigants. As plaintiffs explain in their motion, the reality of the harm on the city’s public schoolchildren cannot be denied: the data showing widespread illiteracy and low graduate rates—and the inadequate conditions that gave rise this harm—are indisputable.

Under the procedures of the Appellate Division, 1st Department, plaintiffs must give 24 hours "notice of intent" to seek expedited consideration of their motion to lift the automatic stay. CFE has now given notice and will be in court on Wednesday, April 19, seeking to lift the stay and start the clocking running again.

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 >