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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Barbara Clark

New York State Assemblywoman Barbara Clark, who is the New York representative to the National Conference of State Legislators, introduced into evidence a recent report of the Conference entitled, Educational Adequacy: Building an Adequate School Finance System (1998). The Report states that “state policy makers and the courts should apply the test of ‘adequacy’ as a primary criterion in examining the effectiveness of any existing or proposed state school finance system,” and sets forth principles for identifying the “conditions and tools” necessary to implement adequacy standards and procedures for determining the amount of funds needed to provide those conditions and tools to all students.

Assemblywoman Clark, who serves on the legislature’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and its Education Committee, also identified the minutes from a 1997 legislative budget hearing, where then-Senator Manny Gold, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, stated that:

...if the truth be told the formula as it is worked in Albany, is almost irrelevant, almost irrelevant because what really happens in Albany is that we decide as a legislature that a sum of money is going to New York City, a sum of money is going to go to Nassau, Suffolk or whatever, and then some genius goes to a computer and says, “Give me a formula that will, indeed, give those areas that amount of money.”

...that is that the legislative leaders, the chairmen of the committees, the individual legislators sit down and they say, “Well, look, I’m going to give ‘X’ dollars to the New York City system, we’re going to give ‘Y’ dollars to Syracuse and Albany is going to get ‘Z’, and I don’t care how you do it, give me some formula that comes out with those numbers. ” And that is working…backwards as far as I’m concerned, and is not putting the children’s needs and other needs first in terms of some kind of equity.

After considering objections lodged by defendants, Judge DeGrasse ruled that Mr. Gold’s statements are not admissible. Arguing that the statements constitute an admission by the state, CFE attorney Joseph Wayland presented an objection to this rule for appeal.

Testimony given on March 2, 2000

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 >