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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Sat, Feb 3, 2007

Silda Wall-Spitzer and Education Advocates Launch Citywide "Caravan for Kids"

NY's First Lady shows support for Governor's Education Budget

As St. Patrick’s Day revelers lined the streets of Manhattan in celebration of St. Patty’s Day, hundreds of parents and kids marched and rallied for public education in Brooklyn and Queens today. Calling for the adoption of Governor Spitzer’s education budget, First Lady Silda Wall-Spitzer joined education advocates today in launching a five borough “Caravan For Kids.”

The Alliance for Quality Education and the Campaign for Fiscal Equity launched the city wide bus tour featuring twelve school buses and hundreds of parents and kids on Saturday to show support for Governor Spitzer’s Education Budget plan and to call on State Senators Serphin Maltese (R-Queens), Frank Padavan (R-Queens), Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn), and Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) to deliver the total new investment through fair education funding formula reforms that the Governor has proposed.

“We are at an historic moment for fair funding for a sound basic education” said Geri Palast, the Executive Director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, the advocacy group that spear-headed the court case that set the stage for the Governor’s landmark budget proposal. ”The Governor, Assembly and Senate have all agreed to a major new investment in education, and as such in our children. But we will only be successful if the new investment is distributed based on need, not politics. The Senate’s additional investment comes with a big caveat--it is not based on need, thus shortchanging high needs districts, particularly New York City. These Senators can make the difference that makes history. Let’s do it now.”

Governor Spitzer’s education budget plan would create a fair and equitable school aid formula for the first time and create a system of accountability to ensure funding is targeted to specific educational strategies such as class size reduction, full day pre-kindergarten, quality teachers, more time on task and middle and high school restructuring. This week the four Majority Members in the State Senate voted for the proposed Senate Majority Education Budget that adds $1.2 billion in school operating aid statewide to Governor Spitzer’s budget without adding any additional foundation formula aid for New York City schools. Under the plan devised by the Senate Majority, wealthy school districts would receive a nearly 96% increase in their budgets while New York City would receive only a 46% increase.

“While Governor Spitzer has proposed a budget that would establish a fair and equitable school aid formula, the Senate Majority voted for a formula that locks in a lifetime of inequality for millions of school children attending needy schools across the state,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education.

While one group of parents and kids were marching and rallying outside Senator Golden’s office in Brooklyn, another group was marching and rallying outside of Senator Padavan’s office in Queens. Both groups of buses and hundreds of parents and kids converged later in the afternoon outside of Senator Maltese’s office for one final march and rally. Joining in at the Washington Heights event was New York State’s First Lady, Silda Wall-Spitzer, Councilmember Robert Jackson; Geri Palast, Campaign for Fiscal Equity Executive Director and Billy Easton, Alliance for Quality Education Executive Director.

Today’s bus tour comes as the Senate, Assembly and Governor begin negotiations over the state budget. The four Majority Members of the State Senate representing New York City have the power to deliver billions of dollars in additional state aid and ensure that New York City receives its fair share of all future aid.

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 >