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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Frank DeStefano

Frank DeStefano, Superintendent of Community School Board 15 in Brooklyn, took the stand this week to describe the difficulties faced by his district under the current school finance system. Mr. DeStefano spoke at length about the severe overcrowding in District 15, where 14 different school buildings are operating at or above their capacity. P.S. 172, he noted, is operating at 131% of capacity, and the P.S. 169 Annex is operating at a startling 182% of capacity. Many of these buildings are more than 70 years old, and less than half of the district’s elementary schools still have a library. He also stated that because of geographic barriers in the district, such as the Gowanus Canal and Greenwood Cemetery, it is not feasible to simply move students from overcrowded schools to those where there is still some space.

Mr. DeStefano also spoke about the district’s struggles to help students meet high standards. Many of the district’s teachers, he said, are not prepared to teach a standards-driven curriculum, and this results in low student performance. Sixty-two percent of students in the district are currently not meeting English standards. Mr. DeStefano stressed the importance of high standards, as they represent a promise to students and the community at-large that children are being prepared to lead productive lives as adults.

Testimony given on December 2 & 3, 1999

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 >