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Campaign for Fiscal Equity
 

JUSTICE DEGRASSE APPOINTS PANEL OF 3 DISTINGUISHED SPECIAL MASTERS

In a court hearing on August 3, Justice Leland DeGrasse appointed a panel of three special masters to deal with the State's non-compliance in CFE v. State. The three distinguished appointees are John D. Feerick, former dean of Fordham University School of Law and past president of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York; the Honorable E. Leo Milonas, former chief administrative judge of the State of New York and past president of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York; and the Honorable William C. Thompson, former justice of the Appellate Division, Second Department.

Justice DeGrasse announced that he would shortly issue an order defining the scope of the special masters' responsibilities. The special masters will meet with the attorneys for the parties on August 5 to determine the procedures for completing their duties. Justice DeGrasse also stated that the appointed referees will have until November 30 to complete their work.

During the hearing, the plaintiffs called the state's failure to implement the CFE remedy by the court deadline "shameful." Deputy Attorney General Richard Rifkin conceded that the State was not in compliance with the Court of Appeals' order. He argued that the special masters' review should be limited to the Zarb Commission report and the governor's legislative proposal. CFE's attorneys reiterated their request that the special masters review CFE's comprehensive task force proposals, as well as the final report of the Zarb Commission, the Regents' proposals, and input from the general public, as part of a process for developing a full compliance plan. They also proposed that representatives of both houses of the legislature, as well as the Regents, be invited to formally present their positions to the special masters.

CFE believes that a prompt process is integral to limit the harm that an unconstitutional school funding system has on our children. Due to the legislature's failure to comply with the CFE order, students across the state will have to begin another school year without the resources necessary to provide them their opportunity for a sound basic education. As Justice DeGrasse stated, the court is "here to ensure protection of constitutional rights." CFE is pleased that the court recognizes the urgency of proceeding quickly and is prepared to cooperate with the special masters to help ensure the development of a constitutionally acceptable compliance plan as soon as possible.


August 3, 2004



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 >