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Campaign for Fiscal Equity
 

Tue, Mar 18, 2008

CFE and AQE Express Objections to Proposed Final Contract for Excellence Regulations

Organizations Urge Commissioner Mills to Revise Regulations to Allow for Expansive Public

Albany, NY – The Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. (CFE) and the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) issued a letter to Richard P. Mills, NYS Commissioner of Education, urging him to reconsider the proposed final regulations surrounding Section 211-d[4] of the Education Budget and Reform Act of 2007-2008, which concerns the “public process” for development of Contracts for Excellence.

Citing their organizations’ leading roles in the development and enactment of the law, CFE and AQE charge that the New York State Education Department’s proposed final regulations misinterpret the law and severely limit and undermine one of its basic tenets: expansive public participation to ensure that the voice and the views of the public are given an active and substantial role in determining how the new education resources are effectively utilized to achieve the goal of academic excellence for all public school children. Despite limited statewide inclusion of the public in the first year of the Contract, the input of CFE, AQE and other education reform organizations and members of the public had a substantial impact on the 2007-2008 approval process.

“As the organizations whose fight for educational equity inspired the enactment of the Contract for Excellence legislation, we are baffled by SED’s attempt to preclude our participation in the development of the Contracts themselves. We strongly urge the Commissioner to revise the draft regulations to enable educational advocacy organizations, such as CFE and AQE, to participate in the “public process” called for by law. Any other result would run counter to the plain terms and purpose of the statute itself,” said Geri D. Palast, Executive Director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.

AQE Executive Director Billy Easton added, “It is simply outrageous that the Commissioner of Education would shut the door on taxpayers and community organizations when it comes to their right to speak at a public hearing on the Contracts for Excellence. We know from this past year's Contracts that the State Education Department failed to enforce their own public participation regulations. Instead of strengthening the regulations to fully enforce the law, now they seem to be determined to enact into regulations restrictions on public testimony that will exclude the voices of many.”

Letter to the Commissioner (pdf).


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 >