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RULING ANNOUNCED IN LANDMARK SCHOOL FUNDING CASE: Appeals Court Rules that New York Must Provide a Minimum of $1.9 Billion to New York City Schools

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“Governor-elect Spitzer has said that when it comes to public education, he is seeking excellence, not mere competence and sufficiency,” said CFE Executive Director Geri D. Palast

On November 20, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that the state must provide a minimum of $1.93 billion in additional aid every year to New York City’s public schools, an amount that is significantly less than the $4.7 billion that a lower court said was the minimum needed to give every child in the city a sound basic education. The case, which was initially brought by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) on behalf of New York City schoolchildren in 1993, has been one of the most closely watched of the school financing cases in a number of states that seek to direct more money to needy school districts.

The ultimate decision on how much additional money New York City schools will receive lies with the New York Legislature and incoming Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer (D), who, in a somewhat ironic twist, represented the state in the lawsuit for the past eight years in his role as attorney general. In his new role as governor, Spitzer will take over for outgoing Governor George Pataki (R), who was unable to come to an agreement with the state legislature on a statewide solution to comply with past court orders. Currently, New York pays about $7.1 billion, or 45 percent, of the New York City’s total education budget of $15.4 billion. The court-ordered increase would come on top of this total.

“Governor-elect Spitzer has said that when it comes to public education, he is seeking excellence, not mere competence and sufficiency,” said CFE Executive Director Geri D. Palast. “Nothing less than the future of New York State rests on getting this right. I am confident that through negotiations with the new Governor and the legislature, our elected leaders will come through with the right amount of funding, combined with strong accountability measures, and finally deliver for our kids.”

Spitzer has previously said that the figure should be between $4 and $6 billion for New York City and up to $8.5 billion statewide. In a statement after the ruling was issued, he declined to mention a specific number but pledged to provide more money than the constitutional minimum that was established in the court’s decision.

More information on the decision is available at http://cfequity.org/.

 

UPCOMING ALLIANCE EVENT: Reaching Every English Language Learner: From Hawaii to Texas to Connecticut

 

With low literacy rates, poor performance on national and international assessments, low graduation rates, and high postsecondary remediation rates, it is clear that far too many students—particularly low-income, minority, and English language learning—are not being adequately prepared by America’s secondary schools for college, the workplace, or for citizenship. Yet in middle and high schools across the country, innovative leaders are using a number of strategies to beat the odds, keeping students enrolled and engaged, and graduating them prepared for success.

Join the Alliance for Excellent Education for an informative look at how one district—Kaua’i Area Complex in Hawaii—has leveraged quality instruction to improve the academic achievement of low-income students and English language learners. Interestingly, at Kappa High School, low-income students outperformed high-income students after receiving targeted, intensive intervention. Superintendent Daniel Hamada will share the secrets of Kaua’i’s success. In addition, Dr. Margarita Calderón will share information on her highly successful program, Expediting Comprehension for English Language Learners, used in secondary schools across the country. Calderón has developed a research-based approach to expediting reading comprehension that results in higher test scores, not just for ELLs, but for all students.

This discussion will focus on the challenges concerning English language learners faced by secondary school students, parents, and educators; policies and practices to overcome those challenges; and implications for federal policy to improve America’s secondary schools.

To RSVP for the event, please email all4ed@all4ed.org with the subject line “RSVP: December 6th Breakfast” or call Kathleen Crymble at (202) 828-0828

 

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.