Smith Says Pataki’s Proposals Fall Short
State Senator Ada L. Smith criticized Governor Pataki’s proposed budget for education, saying the budget shortchanges New York City schools and fails to address a court order requiring the State provide a sound education for all schoolchildren.
“The Governor’s defiance of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) court decision leaves a whole generation of New York City schoolchildren at a disadvantage. While I am not surprised by the Governor’s actions, I am disappointed nonetheless. The Governor could have left his tenure on a high note by introducing a budget that meets the requirements of the CFE case,” Senator Smith said. “Instead, once again he neglects the children of the State of New York.”
Smith noted that more than five years have passed since Judge Leland DeGrasse made the legendary decision that New York City schools were getting shortchanged in the distribution of school funding.
“The Governor went through all the legal maneuvering he could think of to get Judge DeGrasse’s ruling overturned. When he realized he had no place left to go, he simply ignored CFE,” Senator Smith said. Smith explained that even if the entire $700 million of the Governor’s proposed basic educational aid is distributed, it falls well short of the total needed.
Senator Smith added that if New York continues to increase its commitment to a sound basic education at the current pace, the State would not meet its reasonable share of those costs until 2022.
The tax cuts proposed by the Governor would also create deficits totaling in the billions of dollars next decade, making the funding of education even more difficult.
Senator Smith also cited a study by the Education Trust, a national research organization, which reports that New York has the largest gap of any state between the resources available in high and low poverty districts. The gap nationally is $1,436 per pupil; in New York State, the gap is nearly $3,000 per pupil.