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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Tue, Jan 20, 2004

Response to the Governor's Executive Budget

Under Growing Pressure to Comply with Court Order Mandating Sound Basic Education for All Public School Students in New York, Governor Pataki Acknowledges Need to Adequately Fund Education

With only six months to go until the Court of Appeals July 30, 2004 deadline, Governor Pataki acknowledged the need for substantial additional funding in order to comply with the landmark Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) ruling, which recognized the constitutional right of every child in New York to the opportunity for a sound, basic education. The governor’s executive budget includes a general $150 million increase for education and a new $325 million dedicated fund to be financed by projected revenues from video slot machines as a “down payment to ensure that all our children succeed.”

“Clearly, the governor has heard the voices of advocates, experts, parents, and school children,” stated Michael A. Rebell, CFE's Executive Director and Counsel. “Unfortunately, this down payment is only a wobbly baby step when a giant leap is needed.”

The Governor’s proposed $150 million increase for education does not keep pace with inflation and will not even allow school districts to maintain their current level of services. His $325 million sound basic education fund falls far short of the amount needed to provide quality teaching, safe and adequate facilities, reduced class size, and the other pressing constitutional needs listed in the Court of Appeals order.

For over a month, CFE and its advocates have called on Governor Pataki to include an immediate $2 billion “down payment” in his executive budget as a first step in complying with the Court of Appeals remedial order in CFE v. State of New York, which gave the state until July 2004 to undertake major reforms. This funding is urgently needed to help bring the state in compliance with areas the court outlined as in need of immediate funding and to ensure that every child in New York receives the opportunity for a “sound, basic education.”

In the coming weeks, CFE, the New York State School Boards Association, and the statewide Council on Costing Out will release a report from the year-long costing-out study which will set forth specific amounts of funding that will be needed this year and in subsequent years to meet students’ needs in New York City and districts around the state. The Governor’s Commission on Education Reform will release its final report on March 1. “After the release of these reports, we expect that the governor and the legislature will seriously address the need to devise realistic figures and ensure stable funding sources to meet students’ constitutional needs,” Rebell said.

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 >