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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Tue, May 8, 2007

Statement By AQE & CFE In Response To Senate Vote On S.5673

Senate Bill Would Eliminate All Accountability Provisions in The First Year for All but The Five Largest School Districts in The State

(Albany, NY)—The Senate Majority adopted a bill last night that would severely cut back the accountability provisions of the new state education budget. The Senate Bill (S.5673), sponsored by Education Committee Chair Senator Stephen Saland (R-C Poughkeepsie) would reduce the number of districts required to produce Contracts for Excellence, the fundamental accountability provision tied to Governor Spitzer’s school funding reform, from fifty-six statewide to only five.

“The Senate bill would have the impact of eliminating the accountability for fifty-one districts this year and just throwing money at the problem. Parents and taxpayers are demanding accountability, the Senate Majority wants to replace accountability with flexibility,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education. “Without the Contracts for Excellence, the state has no way to require that this money actually makes it into the classrooms where far too many students are failing.”

“We just enacted a consensus education funding and reform bill to turn the CFE litigation into a reality on the ground starting this year,” said Geri Palast, Executive Director, Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. “Accountability is the key, and there can be no compromise. The Contracts are only required of districts with substantial increases that are also deemed underperforming. The parents and taxpayers of New York are entitled to know that their hard-won investment will be made in strategies that provide the neediest students a means to achieve academic success.”

The Alliance for Quality Education and the Campaign for Fiscal Equity led the statewide advocacy to win the school funding reform and consistently called for accountability of the type included in the Contracts for Excellence. Governor Spitzer introduced the Contracts for Excellence in his budget proposal as the centerpiece of his accountability plan. The legislature and the governor negotiated changes to the Contracts for Excellence to give school districts more flexibility in the first year of the Contract. The Senate bill would eliminate all accountability provisions in the first year for all but the five largest school districts in the state.

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 >