2006-11-24 / Community

Smith Presses For Education Equity Resolution

Lawmakers have been called on by State Senator Malcolm A. Smith to join him in honoring American Education Week by renewing their pledge to resolve the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) lawsuit and act diligently to make education equity a central feature of next year's state budget.

"We can no longer default on our promise to offer all New York schoolchildren the opportunity for success," said Smith. "I sincerely hope that once CFE's case is released from its present entanglement in the courts, the Legislature will bring serious debate about school aid directly to the floor of the Senate where it belongs."

CFE's thirteen-year-old legal action contends that the state's education aid formula is "unconstitutional" because it fails to provide all New York schoolchildren with a "sound, basic education." New York's Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, is now considering CFE's case for a third time after the Governor appealed a lower court verdict ordering the state to provide New York City schools with up to $5.6 billion in additional operating aid and up to $9.2 billion extra for capital improvements.

"No matter what the Court of Appeals decides, the CFE suit has provided state leaders with a clear directive to examine the ways state government delivers essential services to its people," Smith said. "It is unfortunate, however, that New Yorkers have had to turn to the judicial system in order to make the case for equity in the first place. It is doubly unfortunate that our state had to face accusations of violating its constitutional duty in order for this issue to get a proper hearing."

American Education Week falls annually on the week before Thanksgiving. First celebrated in 1921, American Education Week was originally sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Legion to raise awareness about the importance of public schools, according to NEA's website.

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