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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Wed, Feb 25, 2009

CFE & AQE Praise Senator Schumer’s Leadership in Securing Federal Stimulus Education Dollars

Stimulus Takes Major Bite Out of Governor’s $2.5 billion School Aid Cut

(Albany)—The federal stimulus package provides multiple funding streams to help schools around the state including $3 billion in fiscal relief over the next two years to the State of New York, $2.5 billion of which is definitively reserved for education and $550 million of which identified as being available for education and other government services. In addition the fiscal stimulus provides $1.7 billion in aid to local school districts. All of these aid categories provide fiscal relief over a two year time period with portions to be used both in this coming fiscal year and in 2010-11.

"We appreciate Senator Schumer’s leadership in ensuring that the federal stimulus package provides much needed funding for New York’s schools,” said Geri Palast, Executive Director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. “The federal stimulus provides the foundation for constructing a state budget that eliminates the devastating $2.5 billion Governor Paterson proposed cutting from education. Now the State must now finish the job and raise the rest of the revenues by asking higher income New Yorkers to contribute their fair share through a progressive personal income tax. The direct stimulus funding to school districts will provide the same foundation at the local level. With three levels of government working together, New York will be able to keep the CFE promise to provide adequate funding to ensure a quality education for school children across the state and to continue providing the other vital services our neediest New Yorkers depend upon."

The state fiscal stabilization funds will be delivered in two funding streams, with $2.5 billion specifically reserved for education and $550 million for government services including education. These funds, like the local aid, will be used over two budget years and the exact amount available for this year is subject to negotiation. The Governor's total $2.5 billion cut to education for this year alone includes a deficit reduction assessment of over $1 billion - a deduction from the current school funding level- and a $1.5 billion foundation aid cut (funding due under the 2007 education reform which provided a statewide settlement to the 13 year Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit).

“Senator Schumer has led the charge to make sure that New York State’s school children get their fair share of the federal stimulus,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education. “The state needs to make certain that these hard won stimulus dollars go directly into our children’s classrooms. The federal stimulus will take a big bite out of the $2.5 billion in school funding cuts contained in Governor Paterson’s budget. The federal government is doing its part for our school children in these difficult times, the state needs to do the same thing. The federal stimulus funding, plus additional state funds that can be raised through raising taxes on New Yorkers earning over $250,000 a year, provides the equation needed to restore most or all of the $2.5 billion that the Governor’s budget cuts from our school children.”

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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 >