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Campaign for Fiscal Equity
 

Tue, Jan 17, 2006

Governor Ignores Calls for Spending $2 Billion Budget Surplus on Schools

CFE's reaction to Pataki's last Executive Budget proposal

Governor Pataki’s proposed education budget for 2006-2007, unveiled today, puts forward the same less than minimal “sound basic education” plan that has been definitively rejected by both the legislature and the court. The proposed budget shortchanges New York State’s schools by almost $2 billion at a time when poor children across the state are receiving over $2,000 less per pupil than their more affluent peers. Despite calls to the governor last week from city hall and legislative leaders to deploy a $2 billion budget surplus to comply with a court-ordered remedy for underfunded schools, the governor has instead made a negligent choice to continue undermining the rule of law.

“He’s taking a $2 billion surplus that could fully fund the court-ordered CFE remedy for poor and minority schoolchildren this year and is using it to further his own political ambitions. It’s an outrage, and his failure to obey a direct order of the highest court in the state and to remedy the severe educational inadequacies in New York State is contemptible,” said CFE Counsel Michael A. Rebell. “They’ll be no whitewashing or spin-doctoring this one because everyone can see that the compliance money is sitting there ready to go, and he’s just walking away.”

The deadline for compliance with the Court of Appeals order in the CFE case to provide an adequate education for all the state’s schoolchildren is over 500 days past due. The governor has made no new attempts to comply. Last June, the assembly made inroads when it introduced Bill A-100, the Schools for New York’s Future Act, which calls for just over $2 billion to fund the first year of statewide funding reforms.

“Just last week Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Silver made strong statements urging Governor Pataki to dedicate the surplus toward funding a CFE remedy, and Majority Leader Bruno called for new efforts at negotiation to resolve the CFE issue,” said Rebell. “By not advancing ball, the governor is making a mockery of our entire judicial and legislative processes.”


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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 >