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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Wed, Jan 4, 2006

CFE Urges Governor to Use $2 Billion Surplus to Fund Schools for New York's Future Act

No solution to address CFE issues in Pataki's last State of the State address

In his 12th and final State of the State address today, Governor Pataki failed to provide a solution to the pre-eminent education issue that hangs over his administration, the State’s failure to comply with the court order in CFE v. State to substantially increase funding for New York’s schools. The address came on the heels of reports that the State is expecting a whopping $2 billion budget surplus this year -- nearly the exact amount needed to fund the first year of the Schools for New York’s Future Act.

Last June, the New York State Assembly introduced the Schools for New York’s Future Act, Bill A-100, to meet the State’s court-mandated obligation to provide an adequate education to all of its schoolchildren. The bill calls for just over $2 billion to fund the first year of the legislation.

“The state of the state in New York today is abject contempt of the Court of Appeals by Governor Pataki. In the face of a $2 billion surplus, the governor’s continuing defiance of the court order in the CFE case -- now over 500 days past the deadline -- is downright deplorable,” said CFE Counsel Michael A. Rebell. “There are no more excuses. We are urging the governor to immediately work with both houses of the legislature and pass the Schools for New York’s Future Act this legislative session.”

Nationwide, schools serving poor children receive $900 less per student than their peers in wealthier districts. New York provides its poor children $2,280 less per pupil than its more affluent children -- two and a half times the national average.

“By adequately funding every school in New York State, the governor has an historic opportunity this legislative session to erase a stain on his record that was left by years of denying children their basic constitutional rights,” said Mr. Rebell. “I can’t think of a better use for the $2 billion surplus than to use it to complete the unfinished business of CFE.”

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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 >