N.Y. Lawmakers and Advocates Urge State to Increase School Funding

By Daarel Burnette II — January 27, 2017 1 min read
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New York lawmakers are pressuring Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, to more quickly to meet a decade-old state Supreme Court order to increase the state education budget by billions of dollars, according to the radio station WNYC.

New York’s highest court ruled in 2006 that the state’s funding formula left the state’s schools billions of dollars short. In response to the lawsuit, Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York, lawmakers built a new funding formula and promised to increase funding by $5.5 billion over the next four years. Instead, the state cut funding by $2.7 billion during the Great Recession.

Cuomo has bragged in recent weeks that he’s increased spending on the state’s school system by more than $6 billion, though not all of that money went into the state’s school funding formula. Opponents say that falls far short of the amount the court has ordered which they say would require a tax increase. Cuomo’s budget this year calls for a $1 billion increase in education aid. The state spends around $60 billion a year on education.

Alliance for Quality Education, a group dedicated to increased school funding, said in a statement to WNYC that the governor’s budget this year is “an unprecendented assault on the education of students of color, students in poverty and immigrant students.”

During his opening speech this year, according to WNYC, Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said it’s a priority to completely address the court ruling.

“This year we will advance the goals of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity by setting a timetable to fully phase in foundational aid,” Heastie said, according to WNYC.

In an op-ed this week, Cuomo’s deputy secretary for Health and Human Services, Paul Francis, said groups like the Alliance for Quality Education have “made up targets” and called it a “sham debate.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.