PARENTS AND EDUCATION ADVOCACY GROUPS PRAISE LEGISLATURE FOR REJECTING MID-YEAR SCHOOL CUTS
Cite Years of Underfunding & State's Failure to Meet CFE Settlement Commitment for 2009-10 School Year

“The Senate and the Assembly have acted responsibly in rejecting mid-year cuts to our schools. The proposed cuts would have undermined the education of our school children and the future of our economy.  New York’s highest court, in the face of evidence demonstrating years of severe school underfunding, affirmed a constitutional right and a standard for what every school child in New York must receive:  qualified teachers, principals and school personnel; appropriate class sizes; adequate and accessible school buildings with sufficient space to ensure appropriate class size and implementation of a sound curriculum; sufficient and up-to-date books, supplies, libraries, educational technology and laboratories; suitable curricula, including an expanded platform of programs to help at risk students by giving them 'more time on task;' adequate resources for students with extraordinary needs; and a safe orderly environment.  The State’s commitment to fund this right and standard must continue to be a priority that guides the decisions of our state’s leaders in these difficult times.  Tough times do require tough choices.  In 2010, prioritizing education, particularly closing the resource and achievement gaps for our neediest schools and students must be a primary factor in decision-making," said Geri D. Palast, CFE Executive Director. Full press release.


CFE AND ED ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSE MID-YEAR CUTS ON TOP OF BROKEN PROMISE
Issue White Paper with Options for Addressing State Budget Shortfall

November 9, 2009 - CFE joined parents, community members, and major education organizations from across the state in urging legislators to oppose Governor Paterson’s proposed $686 million mid-year cut to New York schools. The group broke pencils in unison to symbolize the broken promise, and then delivered the broken pencils - inscribed with the slogan, “No more broken promises!” - to Governor Paterson and legislators.  Full press release.

Governor Paterson has called a special legislative session for Tuesday, Nov. 10, to address the current-year deficit and additional legislation that was not finished at the end of session last June.


CFE TESTIMONY BEFORE STATE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE:
Proposed Education Cuts - Disruptive, Inequitable, Short-Sighted

October 26, 2008 - CFE Executive Director Geri Palast noted in her Senate testimony that the flat level funding in foundation aid this year was already a de facto cut for school districts due to inflationary cost increases. The $686 million cut that the governor is now proposing for education will disrupt the school year already in progress compounding the negative impact on the students and the classrooms. "Times are tough, but leadership requires vision and commitment to our fundamental priorities and the commitment to keep the education promise made to the children and the people of New York State, " stated Palast. Full testimony (pdf.)


88% OF GOVERNOR'S EDUCATION CUTS WOULD HIT POOR & MIDDLE CLASS DISTRICTS
Proposed Cuts On Top of Broken Promise of Fair and Full School Funding

October 21, 2009 - In testimony in Albany before the Assembly Ways & Means Committee on Governor Paterson's proposed mid-year budget cuts, the Alliance for Quality Education presented an analysis showing that 88% of proposed cuts in school aid would hit poor and middle class school districts. Governor Paterson has asserted that the poorest districts are protected under his plan.

Of the $686 million in proposed cuts, $350 million are to high need districts including: New York City $223 million; Big 4 cities (Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers) $30 million; high need small cities and suburbs $56 million; and high need rural districts $41 million. Average need districts would be cut by $252 million. AQE and CFE oppose cuts to any schools regardless of the distribution.

CFE will provide its testimony on the proposed cuts at the Senate Finance Committee Hearing on October 26 at the US Customs House in lower Manhattan.  Read the press release.


CFE ASSAILS DOE FOR LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN ALLOCATING FUNDS MEANT FOR NEEDIEST STUDENTS
NYC Fails to Follow State Rules Meant to Guarantee Parental and Public Input

October 8, 2009– In comments submitted to the New York City Department of Education today the Campaign for Fiscal Equity criticized New York City education officials for a wholesale lack of transparency in the city’s plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in state aid meant to improve historically underfunded schools. 

“The law and the regulations are clear.  The city is required to make their plan public and solicit input from parents and the community in June.  They are required to make information available in borough wide meetings and to make that information transparent and easy to understand by school level.  Instead New York City waited until after the school year has already begun to issue a plan that is difficult for parents and the public to decipher and raises far more questions than it answers,” said Geri Palast, Executive Director of CFE.

Download CFE Comments (pdf).


PARENTS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS HIGHLIGHT EVIDENCE THAT "MONEY MAKES A DIFFERENCE"
CFE Speaks Out Against Potential Mid-Year State Education Cuts

September 23, 2009 - State leaders have made it clear that they will not return for a special session prior to reaching a budget agreement, so education advocates proactively called a press conference on the steps of City Hall in New York City to demand that education funding not be cut.

"New York State's commitment to our public schools must remain a priority, even in this difficult economic time— particularly in New York City, the subject of the CFE court order. Here alone, nearly half a million public school children still attend class in overcrowded buildings and too many still fail to graduate on time. These problems are replicated throughout the state. Without sustained investment, further progress in improving graduation rates, academic performance, and test scores will be impossible. Now is not the time to turn back the clock on the gains we’ve made and return to the bad old days of underfunded schools,” said Geri D. Palast, Executive Director, Campaign for Fiscal Equity.


NEW YORK CITY RELEASES PRELIMINARY PLAN FOR 2009-10 CONTRACT FOR EXCELLENCE
Public Hearings Being Held At CEC Meetings
Public Comment Due by October 8

September 9, 2009 - The New York City Department of Education released its preliminary plan for its 2009-10 Contract for Excellence and announced that public hearings on the plan will take place at the Community Education Council meetings in each district. Hearing dates can be accessed on the DOE's Public Comment page. Meetings on the calendar are subject to change so contact your district CEC directly to confirm.

The FY2010 state budget preserved the Contracts for Excellenceaccountability program, but with no additional funding.  New York City, like the 31 other Contract districts across the state, is required to maintain its Contract expenditures for allowable programs at the level of its 2007-08 and 2008-09 Contract amounts, as approved by the State Education Commissioner. New York City’s 2009-10 Contract amount is $645,358,866 ($387,506,335 for the approved 2008-09 Contract plus $257,852,531 for the approved 2007-08 Contract).

The deadline for public comments is October 8. Comments may be sent to: ContractsForExcellence@schools.nyc.gov

Click here to access the State Education Department's Contract for Excellence program page for more information including guidelines for the public process.


CFE SUBMITS COMMENTS TO USDOE ON PROPOSED PRIORITIES FOR RACE TO THE TOP FUND
Joint Effort with Advocates from New Jersey and Georgia Urges Revision to Make Adequacy and Equity Basic Requirements

August 28, 2009 —In their joint letter, CFE, the Education Law Center (ELC), the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE), and the Georgia School Funding Association (GSFA) sent a letter criticizing the US Department of Education for failing to address the level of state effort to provide adequate and equitable school funding, and to increase that effort for high needs and chronically under-funded school districts. The advocates stressed that Race to the Top will have little chance of achieving and sustaining the reform objectives established by Congress, unless states assure the provision of adequate and equitable school funding to high needs districts.Read the letter.


CFE ANALYSIS OF NYC 2008-09 APPROVED CONTRACT FOR EXCELLENCE ALLOCATION SHOWS STATE FUNDS USED TO FILL CITY BUDGET HOLES
Concerns Almost $250 Million Intended to Help High Need Students

June 30, 2009 —CFE has just released a report that shows that the city allocated state money intended to help high-need students to fill a shortfall in city aid for the city's schools.

CFE’s analysis of the allocations of the NYC Department of Education’s approved 2008-09 Contract for Excellence state funds— provided to resolve the Campaign for Fiscal Equity litigation— shows that the DOE used $243 million of the $388 million in 2008-09 Contract funds to fill the gap created by the underfunding of the DOE’s Fair Student Funding initiative, which should have been paid by the city’s tax levy dollars.

“Filling funding holes with Contract dollars deprives schools of dollars they are owed on top of their city tax levy full funding. This critical funding is meant to support the city’s neediest students, help schools improve student performance, and deliver the education these students deserve— and to which they are legally entitled,” said Geri Palast, Executive Director of CFE. Read the press release   Access the report


CFE RELEASES REPORT: ALMOST HALF OF NEW YORK CITY STUDENTS ATTEND OVERCROWDED SCHOOLS
Proposes Action Plan to Relieve Overcrowding, Launches Website for Tracking Overcrowding

May 20, 2009 (New York City) - A new report from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity finds that 48% of New York City’s public school students attend an overcrowded school or a school that utilizes a temporary structure such as a trailer or annex.

The report, Maxed Out: New York City School Overcrowding Crisis, examines data from every school in New York City to provide a comprehensive overview of the most urgently overcrowded schools and school districts and proposes a policy framework for the Department of Education (DOE) to tackle the crisis. 

The report found 515 school buildings with a total enrollment of 501,632 students (approximately 48% of the 1,042,078 students enrolled in the city’s public schools that year) were either overcrowded or had associated temporary structures during the 2006/07 school year based on the city’s own data available in its Enrollment–Capacity–Utilization Report for the same school year.

CFE also launched OvercrowdedNYCSchools.org, a website aimed at parents, educators and policy makers that uses an interactive, database-driven school building utilization map to display and track overcrowding at the borough, district and school grade level. The site will help parents and policy makers see where school overcrowding is concentrated, which school levels are impacted, how many students each building is built to service, and how many students are currently enrolled there.
Read the press release. Access the report.


STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT CITES STATE'S INCREASED INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION RESOURCES AS A REASON FOR STUDENT PROGRESS ON 2009 STATE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS TESTS
Big 5 Cities, including New York City, Show Greater Progress than State as a Whole

CFE's Executive Director Geri Palast released the follwoing statement: “These results bear out the central premise of the CFE decision:  fair funding plus accountability equals real progress in improving urban schools. The historic increases in state and local funding for poor urban schools in 2007-08 and 2008-09 that resulted from the CFE litigation and reform legislation played an important role in the progress being made. This should underscore to policy makers in Albany and here in New York City that postponing further investment in urban schools until the economy recovers could put these gains at risk." Read Palast's entire statement .Link to NYSED Release


CAMPAIGN FOR FISCAL EQUITY CRITICIZES STATE BUDGET FOR PROVIDING ZERO DOLLARS FOR COURT-ORDERED SCHOOL FUNDING

April 4, 2009 - "The state legislature showed leadership in enacting a temporary Fair Share Tax Reform and calling for shared sacrifice and contribution during the economic downturn," said Geri D. Palast, Executive Director, Campaign for Fiscal Equity. "Yet, the school children of New York are being asked to give more than their fair share.  The proposed education budget zeros out classroom aid increases for the next two years, and stretches out the Campaign for Fiscal Equity agreement to seven years instead of four.  This undermines both the constitutional obligation to provide adequate resources for a sound basic education for every public school child and the President's and the Congressional intent to ensure stimulus funds are used to fund educational equity."

"The legislature and the Governor preserved the Contract for Excellence, the accountability tool that ensures that CFE funds serve the neediest students and schools, that funds are invested in strategies that advance educational achievement, and that progress can be measured. But without investment, the process is stymied," Palast said. "With stimulus funds and the positive addition of the Fair Share Tax Reform, there is no excuse for robbing our children of their fair share of the available resources to provide the education necessary to build their futures.  Our fight will continue."


EDUCATION ORGANIZATIONS CALL FOR COMBINING FAIR SHARE TAX REFORM WITH FEDERAL STIMULUS TO RESTORE $2 BILLION OF PROPOSED $2.5 BILLION SCHOOL AID CUT
Ask Legislature to Reject Governor's 8-year Phase-in of Statewide Campaign for Fiscal Equity Settlement

March 23, 2009 (Albany, NY) - Major statewide education organizations were joined by parents and school district officials from Buffalo, Long Island and Albany delivered a letter to Governor Paterson and state legislative leaders calling for enactment of Fair Share Tax Reform combined with federal stimulus dollars to pay for the restoration $2 billion of the $2.5 billion proposed cut in school funding. A Siena Research Institute poll released on March 22nd shows that by a margin of 56% to 38%, New Yorkers prefer the combination of using federal stimulus dollars and raising income taxes on those earning over $250,000 to making budget cuts. Download the press release (pdf).


NUISANCE TAXES ARE OFF THE TABLE, TIME TO FOCUS ON STOPPING DEVASTING CUTS TO SCHOOL CHILDREN
CFE Reacts to Agreement of Legislative Leaders on Use of Federal Stimulus and Elimination of Proposed Nuisance Taxes

March 11, 2009 - Governor David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith announced today that they have agreed to utilize $1.3 billion of the federal stimulus aid to eliminate the so-called “nuisance taxes”. The Campaign for Fiscal Equity issued the following statement:.

"The Governor and the legislative leaders have taken the first step in resolving the budget by taking nuisance taxes off the table.  Now New York State must follow the example set by President Obama and the Congress in prioritizing education and maintaining investment in schools and students.   To do so, our leaders must enact Fair Share Tax Reform that asks high income New Yorkers to contribute their fair share.  Together with the stimulus, the State can substantially restore the $2.5 billion in education cuts required to meet the constitutional obligation to provide adequate funding for a sound basic education established in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity litigation," said Geri D. Palast, Executive Director, Campaign for Fiscal Equity.


CFE RESPONSE TO AMERICAN RECOVERY & REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009
Statement released by Geri Palast, Executive Director

February 13, 2009 - The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) applauds the Congress, particularly the New York State Congressional delegation headed by Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel for crafting a federal stimulus package which prioritizes education.  State and local officials must use these funds to supplement their own budgets and knock out threatened draconian school aid cuts.  The stimulus is the first of the essential building blocks for constructing state and local school budgets that ensure that every public school child in New York gets their constitutional right to a sound basic education per the Campaign for Fiscal Equity litigation and legislation.  The second building block should be a progressive personal income tax increase that asks New Yorkers who earn over $250,000 a year to contribute to our children's futures and their ability to contribute to the long term economic well-being of the state.  Third, state and localities should add economies that result from eliminating wasteful spending.   With this three-pronged approach there will be no need to cut vital education programs and services. New York will be able to keep the promise to fund CFE and to continue investing in a quality education for school children across the state.


CFE RESPONSE TO NYC MAYOR'S PRESENTATION OF
FY2010 PRELIMINARY BUDGET
Statement released by Geri Palast, Executive Director

February 2, 2009 - The budget that Mayor Bloomberg released on January 30th strikes a major blow to New York City’s nearly one million public school children. The Mayor's proposal to lay off 15,000 educators would be a repeat of the devastating education budget cuts in the 1970’s  that decimated New York City’s schools and led to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity litigation.   Generations of our neediest children were denied their right to the opportunity for a sound basic education and robbed of their tickets to a productive career in the global economy.  When the mayor took office, CFE and parents and advocates around the state were in court securing constitutionally guaranteed funding for the schools.  We worked to enact legislation that has substantially increased state aid to New York City classrooms. Last year we worked with the City Council to partially restore the Mayor's cuts to the city’s schools.  President Obama's proposed federal stimulus invests in education both because it is key to economic growth and because today’s schoolchildren must not pay the price for the failed economy.  The Governor and the Mayor must follow the President’s lead, prioritize education,  and join together to raise the revenue necessary to minimize the cuts through a fair personal income tax on the highest income earners. 


CFE TESTIFIES BEFORE SENATE FINANCE AND ASSEMBLY WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEES
Statement released by Geri Palast, Executive Director

January 28, 2009 - The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) believes the Governor’s proposal to cut $2.5 billion from New York’s classrooms is bad economics.  In addition to a budget deficit, there is an education deficit that by law and long term economics must be one of the state’s top priorities. The Legislature must construct a budget based on this comprehensive view of the deficit.  New York’s public school children have lived with the education deficit for over 15 years as documented in the CFE litigation.  It severely imperils the ability of our children to become skilled and productive contributors to our society.  The 2007 Education Budget and Reform Act provided the four year timeline and financial commitment to address this education deficit.  While CFE recognizes that we face tough budget challenges, the Legislature must not tolerate changes to the funding baseline set last year, 2008-2009, and must take extraordinary steps to make good on this year’s commitment despite the economic downturn. The proposed federal stimulus prioritizes education.  Those funds must be taken into account along with additional deficit reduction funds that could come from increasing the personal income tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers.  We simply cannot afford to increase the education deficit.  It will put us back where we started and undermine New York’s capacity to provide its students with their constitutionally mandated sound basic educations.   Compliance with this constitutional mandate is a legal, economic and moral necessity. This should be the bottom-line factor in all budget decisions.

Link to CFE's full testimony.


CFE's statement on Governor Paterson's 2009 State of State Speech may be accessed by clicking on the Media button on the left.
Link to text of Governor Paterson's 2009 State of State Speech


CFE REPONDS TO GOVERNOR'S EXECUTIVE BUDGET
Education Cuts Turn Back Clock on State's CFE Funding Promise

December 16, 2008 (Albany, NY)  "Governor Paterson's proposed education budget gets a failing grade.  By cutting $2.5 billion from committed funding, and extending the CFE phase-in from four to eight years, he is turning back the clock on the state's legislated obligation to keep the CFE promise.  By refusing to propose progressive across the board revenue options, New York’s 15 year education budget deficit will now grow to 21 years, and the price will be paid by our neediest students.  Simply put, the Governor is using bad arithmetic.  The future of our neediest students and their constitutional rights must not be subtracted from our state's budget," said Geri D. Palast, Executive Director, Campaign for Fiscal Equity. Download the release issued by CFE and other education advocates.


AQE & CFE REACT TO BOARD OF REGENTS $879 Million State SCHOOL AID PROPOSAL
Praise Regents Leadership in Tough Times in Calling on Governor Paterson to Maintain Commitment to School Children

December 4, 2008 - The New York State Board of Regents released its state school aid proposal today calling for $879 million in new school aid in 2009, a 4.1% increase. The proposal includes a $586 million increase in foundation aid, $61 million in new funding for Pre-K and $44 million in Academic Enhancement Aid towards complying with the court ordered commitment to provide every child the right to a quality education. In 2007 the legislature and the governor enacted a commitment to phase-in a $7 billion increase in school aid over four-years as a settlement to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. The Regents proposal protects two centerpieces of the CFE settlement: the foundation formula that provides for fair funding distribution and the Contract for Excellence accountability system. more....


CFE PROVIDES TESTIMONY FOR CITY COUNCIL ON
DOE'S 2010 - 2014 CAPITAL PLAN
Deputy Director Helaine Doran Urges DOE to Present Meaningful, Detailed Plan to Address Overcrowding

December 2, 2008 - Doran opened her testimony by citing the State Supreme Court 2001 and the Court of Appeals 2003 decisions which state that all students in the state are entitled to “minimally adequate physical facilities and classrooms which provide enough light, space, heat and air to permit children to learn,” and the State legislature's corresponding authorization in 2005 of $9.2 billion for physical improvements and expansion of New York City’s public school buildings. An important element of CFE’s on going advocacy for the appropriate use of state and city resources has been to examine how well DOE is developing and building improvements so that overcrowding is eliminated, class sizes are reduced to, at a minimum, the State-wide averages and that all school buildings have the appropriate specialized spaces.

Pointing out that the capital plan's articulated strategies do not give a clear picture of the extent that overcrowding will be reduced, the ability to reduce class sizes at all grade levels and to remove temporary structures, CFE called on the DOE to further develop and explain its strategies. Doran stated that CFE cannot endorse the proposed capital plan without an understanding of when enhanced educational opportunities will be available because of improved building conditions.

Download CFE's full testimony (pdf).


CFE AND AQE RESPOND TO GOVERNOR PATERSON’S OPEN LETTER TO SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENTS AND DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENTS
Urge Governor to Look at Ways to Enhance State’s Revenues to Lessen Cuts to Schools

November 25, 2008 - The Campaign for Fiscal Equity and the Alliance for Quality Education issued the letter below in response to the letter Governor David Paterson released earlier in the day.  The two organizations have been urging the governor to consider revenue options to see that the burden of the economic crisis is fairly shared and doesn’t jeopardize essential state services including the schools.  

“During the 15 years the CFE lawsuit was litigated and legislated, class sizes grew, highly qualified teachers fled New York City for better salaries and school overcrowding grew to affect over half a million students,” said Geri Palast, Executive Director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. “Any cut in funding for the CFE settlement means that you are not really looking to end the underfunding that the court said contributed to denying students a sound basic education.  The lack of imagination on the Governor's part in proclaiming the need for substantial cuts over sensible revenue ideas is a sad day for New York's children.” more...


CFE AND MAJOR EDUCATION ADVOCATES CRITICIZE GOVERNOR PATERSON'S PROPOSED SCHOOL CUTS FOR TURNING BACK CLOCK ON EDUCATIONAL EQUITY
Governor's Budget Would Cut $6,371 from Average Classroom Statewide: $12,000 Cuts per Classroom for Some Schools

Nov. 17, 2008 (Albany) - Several major education advocacy groups criticized Governor David Paterson at a press conference at the state Legislative Office Building today for proposing $836 million in public education cuts for school children across the state.  Barely into the second school year of what was to be the historic investment to correct the shortfall in education funding established in the 13 year Campaign for Fiscal Equity litigation, the Governor’s proposed cuts represent both record high mid-year school funding cuts and a retrenchment on the State’s constitutional commitment on education.  An analysis prepared by the Fiscal Policy Institute shows that the average classroom in the state would lose $6,371 under Governor Paterson’s proposed cuts, with some districts losing as much as $12,000 per classroom. more... 


CFE RELEASES STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR'S TWO YEAR DEFICIT REDUCTION PLAN
November 12th Plan Cuts Education Budget by Over $800 Million

Nov. 12,2008 - "Today, Governor Paterson - once a partner in securing the legislation that was finally going to turn a constitutional right into a reality - took a wrong turn when he proposed his two-year deficit reduction plan. Back in 1990 - the perfect school funding nightmare occurred. Both the state and city proposed steep mid-year cuts to schools. Parents, community members, education advocates and the unions all came together and said: 'Enough is enough - we have still never recovered from the drastic school cuts during the mid-70s.' The Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit was born out of that activism - the need to tell the story that New York City's schools are shamefully underfunded resulting in an inadequate education for too many of our students," said Geri D. Palast, Executive Director, Campaign for Fiscal Equity.

"Mid-year cuts hurt," said Palast. "Schools already have received their funding and now they will have to make tough decisions: Do I cut the before or after school programs targeted at helping struggling readers? Do I cut the librarian, art or science teachers? Do I remove all access to AP classes? Make no mistake - mid-year cuts are not for the faint of heart. This is not a cut in the increase as the Governor presented - but a retreat from meeting a constitutional obligation that took 15 years to litigate and legislate. New York City alone has to swallow $255 million mid-year. The CFE funding is earmarked for our most vulnerable students that still do not receive a 'sound basic education.' If the historic presidential election is any indicator - wealthier New Yorkers want us to make progress with our neediest students."


OVER 200 NON-PROFITS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS TO GOVERNOR PATERSON: CUTS ALONE WILL DEVASTATE NEW YORKS FUTURE
Groups Who Provide Services to Seniors, Children, Homeless, Mentally Ill, People with Aids Call on Paterson to Stop Exempting Wealthy New Yorkers from Budget Pain

November 12, 2008 - The One New York: Fighting for Fairness Coalition and the Better Choice Budget Campaign joined forces in calling on the Governor and legislative leaders to abandon a budget policy that call on poor and vulnerable New Yorkers alone to bear the burden of the states fiscal crises. Over 300 New Yorkers who depend on vital services from the City and State joined in a rally at City Hall in New York City to call on Governor Paterson to examine revenue options rather than gutting services for many of the state's most vulnerable citizens. Similar events were held in six other locations across the state.


HUNDREDS OF NEW YORKERS KICK OFF “ ONE NEW YORK: FIGHTING FOR FAIRNESS ” CAMPAIGN TO STOP CITY BUDGET CUTS AIMED AT NYC'S MOST VULNERABLE
Coalition of Over 50 Major City Organizations Behind Campaign to Protect Vital Services and Balance Budget by Raising Revenue; Similar Effort for Albany

October 10, 2008 - Two days after city agencies submitted plans for across-the-board budget cuts that will impact legal services, child welfare, the homeless, schools, people with AIDS,the elderly,and youth, a broad-based coalition of almost 75 major citywide social service providers, community organizations, unions and advocacy groups kicked off a campaign to urge Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council to protect poor and middle class New Yorkers from budget cuts to vital services adn to close the gam, in part through progressive revenue enhancements. CFE is a founding member of the Coalition, which is still in formation. CFE Board Member O'Cynthia Williams, who serves as a parent coordinator for NYC Coalition for Educational Justice and is also active with the Alliance for Quality Education, served as one of the Masters of Ceremony for the kick-off press conference.more...


CFE PUBLIC COMMENT ON NYC DOE
PROPOSED 2008-09 CONTRACT FOR EXCELLENCE
Improvement Noted Along with Issues Not Yet Resolved and New Issues that Must Be Addressed

August 18, 2008 - The Campaign for Fiscal Equity has completed and sent to the New York City Department of Eduation its Public Comment on the city's proposed 2008-09 Contract for Excellence aong with CFE's Analysis of the proposed Contract allocations provided in the Contract plan released on July 23, 2008.

CFE noted that the DOE has made progress in implementing the Contract for Excellence. However, there are certain areas of concern that were previously highlighted and that have not yet been resolved as well as some new issues which must be addressed. Among these new issues is the question of whether Contract funds are being used to supplant or replace City education funding instead of to supplement or add to the resources and services provided to high need low performing schools. Click below to download:
CFE Public Comment on 2008-09 NYC DOE Proposed Contract for Excellence
CFE Analysis of New York City's Proposed Allocations for Plan released July 23, 2008

CFE is committed to working with the Department of Education and the State Education Department to ensure that the city's Contract meets the letter and intent of the law and benefits those students most at risk of not being provided with opportunity for the sound basic education which New York's constitution guarantees and the courts ruled in CFE v. State of NY they must receive.


CITYWIDE 2008-09 CONTRACT FOR EXCELLENCE PLAN POSTED ON DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION WEBSITE

July 23, 2008 -The New York City Department of Education has posted an updated citywide 2008-09 Contract for Excellence plan on its website. The posting includes a powerpoint overview of the plan and spreadsheets showing the proposed allocation of Contract for Excellence dollars to the schools.Link to DOE website with updated July 23rd plan.

The deadline for public comment is August 23, 2008. Comments may be sent to: ContractsForExcellence@schools.nyc.gov


CFE ANALYSIS OF DOE PRELIMINARY PLAN FOR 2008-09 CONTRACT FOR EXCELLENCE: School Allocations Do Not Meet State Standard for Predominately Serving Neediest Students

Contrary to state regulations requiring that 75% of the Contract dollars be distributed to benefit students with the greatest educational needs in the top 50% of the schools with the highest incidence of poverty, disability, limited English proficiency and low school performance, CFE found that the DOE is allocating only 59 percent to the neediest schools in the 2008-09 Contract for Excellence plan released on May 30. Forty-one percent is going to lower need higher performing schools.

NYCDOE is supposed to provide detailed school allocations and program investment information for the $386 million in their proposed Contract. However, the City has currently provided school allocation information on only $231 million. The CFE analysis is necessarily limited based on this preliminary data. more….

Information about the City's preliminary Contracts plan is posted online at http://www.nyc.gov/schools/AboutUs/BudgetsFairStudentFunding/ContractsforExcellence
Written comments on the Contracts for Excellence will be accepted by DOE through 6/27/08 at:   contractsforexcellence@schools.nyc.gov.


NYC CONTRACT FOR EXCELLENCE UPDATE:
DOE Announces Second Round of Contract Hearings

At the Brooklyn Contract for Excellence Hearing on June 12th, Terrence Tolbert, Executive Director of the DOE's Intergovernmental Affairs Office, announced that there will be another round of hearings on the Contracts.  Tolbert encouraged participants to comment on how the city should spend its Contract for Excellence funds in the six allowable program areas to support students with the greatest educational needs.  According to Tolbert, the DOE will consider the input from the first round of hearings when producing the more detailed Contract proposal which must be provided to the public for review at public hearings and for comment during a 30-day period before it is submitted to the State Education Department for approval. The next hearing is set for 6pm on Tuesday, June 17th, at Fashion Industries High School, 225 West 24th Street, Manhattan. The Queens Hearing is set for 6pm on Wednesday, June 18th at I.S. 230, 73-10 34th Avenue.  At present, no dates have been provided for the second round hearings. 


CFE TESTIFIES ON DOE PRELIMARY CONTRACT FOR EXCELLENCE PLAN AT STATEN ISLAND HEARING
Public Participation Process Not in Compliance with State Law and Regulations

In testimony and written comments provided at the Staten Island hearing on June 5th, CFE went on record with its reactions to the Preliminary 2008-09 Contract Plan which the DOE posted on its website on May 30th. CFE raised concerns about both violations of  the required  public participation process and regarding the apparent distribution of the Contract for Excellence funds to a significant number of high performing rather than low performing schools and to non-contract purposes. First, CFE  pointed out that the five hearings scheduled over two weeks, one in each borough, do not constitute the public comment hearings as described in the 2007 Education Reform Act and the relevant regulations.  The regulations provide for public input during the development of the Contract and then for reasonable notice and detailed proposed Contract information for comment by the public at the 32 CEC hearings on the 32 community school district plans and at the five borough hearings on the citywide plan. 

Second, despite public statements to the contrary, the preliminary plan allocates Contract dollars to most of the city's schools indicating that Contract dollars are being used to fill budget gaps.  The preliminary Contract plan fails to provide sufficient detail for informed comment on the budget allocations.  

Read CFE Staten Island Hearing Testimony including CFE's preliminary overview and analysis of allocations.


CHANCELLOR SAYS STATE MUST CHANGE CONTRACT FOR EXCELLENCE TO ABSORB CITY EDUCATION BUDGET CUTS
State Elected Officials and Education Advocates Voice Opposition

On May 21, New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein announced the City's plan to ask Albany for “flexibility” to $63 million of the Contract for Excellence funds that are supposed to provide additional funding for high-need low-performing schools. Klein stated that without that flexibility some of the city's highest performing schools would face budget reductions of up to 6 percent. CFE Executive Director Geri D. Palast and other members of the Keep the Promises Coalition immediately voiced their strong opposition to the plan. Governor David Paterson and NY State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver issued statements calling on the city to solve the problem by keeping the City's education spending at the promised level. Read their statements and those of other Keep the Promises Coalition members.

CFE REPORT: A Seat of One's Own: Class Size Reduction in the Lowest Performing Schools in New York City

Entire Report: PDF HTML
Methodology, Findings, Analysis, and Appendices
Executive Summary and Charts
SINI/SRAP Class Size Reduction Borough Maps
Press release

Español:
Una butaca propia: Reducción al tamaño de clases en las escuelas
de más bajo aprovechamiento en la Ciudad de Nueva York

(Resumen Principal)



Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc.
110 William Street - Suite 2602 • New York, NY 10038
(212) 867-8455 • Fax: (212) 867-8460

2009-10 Enacted State Budget:
Appropriation Bil: S53-C/A-153-C (link)  (pdf)
Article VII Language and Revenue Bill: S57-B/A57-B (link)  (pdf)

SFY 2009-10 Projected School Aid Runs(pdf)

2009-10 State Executive Budget:
Governor Paterson's Recommendations Cut $2.5 Billion from the Elementary & Secondary Education Budget
Article 7 Bill
School Aid Runs

FY2010 NYC Preliminary Budget:
Link to NYC Office of Management & Budget
January 2009 Financial Plan

CONTRACT for EXCELLENCE UPDATE: 1/27/09 - State Education Department released approved 2008-09 NYC Contract. CFE analysis is in progress; results announced when completed.

CFE Public Comment and Analysis of New York City's Contract for Excellence Proposed Allocations 2008-09 for plan released July 23rd
Public Comment (pdf.)
Report (pdf.)

CFE Analysis of New York City's May 30th Contract for Excellence Projected Allocations 2008-09
Report (pdf.)

More CFE Headlines:
NYC 08-09 Contract for Excellence
Money for Needy Goes to Wealthy Schools, Report Says - NYTimesCity Room Blog
Low Grade for City Aid
- NY Post
Joel Klein Fund Threat Bogus Say Critics
- NY Daily News

Know Your Rights Handbook
The 2007-08 New York State Education Budget and Reform Law and State Education Department Regulations,
as amended in 2008-09

Download New York City Edition - here

Español: Conozca sus Derechos - edicion de la Ciudad de Nueva York

Blog: Over 2,500 classrooms needed to reduce class size in New York City’s lowest performing schools

Contracts for Excellence

— Prioritize high need students and schools
—Provide transparency and accountability
— Require public input in development and review of Contract proposal
— Direct fund to specific program categories
—Tie funding to performance targets


CFE v.
State of New York

On November 20, 2006, the NYS Court of Appeals affirmed the student's right to a sound basic education but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the amount of money necessary. more...

To read the Court of Appeals'
decision click here

For a full history of CFE litigation
click here