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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Legislation and Regulations

Enacted State Budget Legislation:

The State Education Budget and Reform Act of 2007
On April 1, 2007, the state legislature voted to enact the State Education Budget and Reform Act of 2007-08 (Education Act) in response to the final ruling in the CFE v. State of New York lawsuit. The Education Act provided for an infusion of over $7 billion into New York State's public schools phased-in over the next four years and allocated to school districts based on student need through the Foundation Formula. The state's funding increase for New York City was set at $3.2 billion, and New York City was required to provide an additional $2.2 billion for education over the same four years.

Read a summaryof the Education Act. Also available en espanol. View a chart (pdf)showing the four-year funding phase-in.

The law also established new transparency and accountability measures including the Contract for Excellence, an annual plan that low-performing school districts receiving a large increase in funding must develop showing the planned allocation of the increased funding and what it would accomplish. In keeping with CFE’s principles, the Contract for Excellence (Contract) must prioritize additional support for the district’s highest need, lowest performing students. CFE, in conjunction iwth our reform partner the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), created a Know Your Rights Handbook to inform parents and those in parental relations about the Education Act and their role and rights in the Contract for Excellence process.

The state legislature passed a 2008-09 budget that fully funded the Education Act’s Year 2 commitment. Model programs for English Language Learners were added to the fundable program categories within the Contract for Excellence. To be subject to a Contract for Excellence for the 2008-09 school year, districts had to have a school in need of improvement for two consecutive years, rather than only one year as was required the previous year. New York City received a total increase of over $643 million.

The state budget enacted for 2009-10 froze the CFE funding increase for two years, effectively extending the phase-in from four to seven years, and used the federal stimulus to maintain current education spending levels and avoid the potentially devastating cuts proposed in the Executive Budget. The promise to resolve CFE was maintained in law including an adjustment for inflation. Payments are due to resume in 2011-12. The Contract for Excellence program was kept intact. Contract districts are required to maintain the 2008-09 funding levels for their 2009-10 Contract programs.

Regulations for Implementing the Education Act
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) was charged with writing the regulations and guidelines to govern the implementation of the reform legislation. CFE and our allies worked closely with NYSED - from April 2007 when emergency regulations were first proposed until July 2008 when the permanent regulations were approved by the Regents - providing comments and suggestions to see that the regulations and governing documents provide clear and enforceable means to ensure:

  • that funding is targeted to the neediest students and schools within districts;
  • that the Contract funding is allocated to and spent in one or more of the six educational strategies laid out in the law;
  • that the Contracts for Excellence include clear, publicly available information on how much funding is going to a school and the specific program(s) being funded;
  • that participation of parents and the public is meaningful and the rights of parents and the public are clearly spelled out;
  • that the regulations regarding the class size reduction plan for New York City are clear in how they mandate the reduction of class sizes.

Links to:
NYSED Regulations
NYSED Latest Information on the Contracts for Excellence

Public Comment Process
Complaint Process

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 >