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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Thu, May 1, 2008

Keep the Promises Coalition Speaks Out in Response to Mayor Bloomberg’s Executive Budget

Parents, Educators and Elected Officials Decry $450 million in cuts to Education Funding and Announce Advertising Campaign to Restore the Funds to Our Schools

(New York, NY) Last year the Mayor and the City Council matched the historic commitment that the state made to reverse the chronic, multi-generational underfunding of the New York City public schools by agreeing to $2.2 billion increase over 4 years. Today the city broke that promise to kids. Today the city reversed the approximately $450 million it had promised in the 2008 adopted budget.

The governor and state legislature—despite facing daunting budget deficits actually increased their commitment to kids when the state appropriated $600 million in new funds for NYC public schools. Compare that to the city’s reduction of promised funds in the wake of the substantial multi-billion dollar surplus.

In response, a coalition of parents, educators, and elected officials from across the city will gather this afternoon in opposition to the $450 million in cuts to education funding that would reduce or eliminate services and programs in many Bronx schools and in schools throughout the city. The Coalition will also announce an advertising campaign urging New York City residents to ask the Mayor to keep his promise and fund the city’s public schools.

A Coalition of Bronx elected officials, representatives of the “Keep the Promises” Coalition of organizations fighting to restore budget cuts proposed for New York City public schools including United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten; Campaign for Fiscal Equity; Alliance for Quality Education; ACORN; New York City Coalition for Education Justice, along with parents, teachers and students will come together to denounce an executive budget that demonstrates the wrong choices and priorities for the city, and makes it harder for our children to thrive.

The Coalition will also announce an advertising campaign aimed at holding the City accountable to its promise to help New York City kids succeed. Radio, TV, and print advertisements highlight that while New York State is keeping its investment promise to help students get the education they need, the City has not fulfilled its word and asks New York City residents to tell the Mayor and the City Council to keep their pledge and fund public schools.

“We’re asking our kids to meet higher standards at school, but the budget announced today takes away money that could be used to ensure smaller class sizes, safer schools, access to pre-K, and quality educators. The Mayor’s proposed $450 million cut to next year’s education budget is not belt-tightening; it is a matter of priorities. The Mayor rightly understood it was important to keep his $400 promise to homeowners and to roll some of the surplus as a cushion. He should have given the same consideration to the importance of the 4-year promise the city made to our children. He has broken that promise, and we have five weeks to work with him and the City Council to reverse it,” said United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.
Ernest Logan, President of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, added: “We are extremely disappointed that NYC has chosen not to uphold its financial commitment to our children. School leaders have already dealt with $180 million in cuts, which caused students to lose out on vital programs. They should not be forced to prepare for what millions more will cause. New York State understands the importance of education, especially in tough fiscal times, and now it’s the city’s responsibility to ensure education remains a priority. Our children deserve no less.”
“New York City is going back on its word and wants to take away funding that would reduce or eliminate services and programs in many Bronx schools, especially high-needs schools and/or those that are struggling academically. Albany met its commitment of $600 million new dollars for New York City’s public schools, but the City’s budget illustrates a broken promise to public schools in the Bronx and throughout New York City,” said Jaime Estades, Director of Advocacy, Alliance for Quality Education.

The Coalition will gather today, Thursday, May 1, in front of the Bronx County Courthouse, 851 Grand Concourse at 161st Street at 4 pm.

Bronx elected officials attending the event include: Borough President Adolfo Carrion; Assembly members Michael Benedetto, Aurelia Greene, Peter M. Rivera, Jose Rivera; City Council members Carmen Arroyo, Oliver Kopell, Annabel Palma, Joel Rivera, Larry Seabrook.

Additional Quotations:
"A few weeks ago, the Governor and the State Legislature passed a budget that demonstrated that we can make our children's education a priority even in tough fiscal times. Unfortunately, today, the Mayor has not done the same. By cutting over $400 million to public schools, the Mayor's budget takes money right out of the classrooms -- text books, quality teachers, after school programs, tutoring, smaller class sizes and enrichment programs. New York City's kids need this critical funding to receive the education they deserve." -Glynda Carr, Executive Director, Education Voters of New York

"How can a Mayor that calls himself the education mayor be cutting school budgets? Shame on him. The state has lived up to its promise and is doing its part. How can the City do anything less? How can our schools do their job without adequate funding?"--Lenore Brown, NYC Coalition for Education Justice Leader and grandparent of 6 NYC public school students.

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 >