Bay Ridge

Lawmakers, even candidates, fight for school funding

April 13, 2017 By John Alexander Brooklyn Daily Eagle
City Council hopeful Justin Brannan. Eagle photo by John Alexander
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With state lawmakers in Albany deadlocked over a final budget for the coming fiscal year, locals, including Bay Ridge City Council candidate Justin Brannan, are urging lawmakers to meet funding levels for NYC public schools required under the 2006 Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, which found the city owed local schools millions. 

Pointing to as much as $40 million owed to local schools in Bay Ridge and surrounding neighborhoods, Brannan has also mounted an online social media campaign calling on parents and educators to see education dollars owed by the city to individual schools using a new database created by advocates. 

“Every New York child deserves a quality education. It’s a right enshrined in our state constitution and confirmed by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity [CFE] lawsuit,” said Justin Brannan. “More than ten years after CFE was settled, NYC public schools still aren’t getting their fair share from Albany. It’s time our elected officials stand up for public school students and fight for this funding in the current state budget.”

This comes in response to mounting pressure on state legislators to secure funding for New York City public schools during the current budget negotiations in Albany. According to the Alliance for Quality Education, the schools are owed $1.9 billion in so-called Foundation Aid intended to fund basic classroom-operating costs and other school services. 

This outstanding bill stems from a 2006 ruling by the New York State Court of Appeals that the state was failing to provide all New York students with basic resources essential to a “sound basic education,” in violation of the state’s constitution. The suit was brought by a group of NYC parents under the name Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), and resulted in the state adopting a Foundation Aid formula under the same name to address the problem.  

Parents can go to whatismyschoolowed.com to find out what their school should receive in CFE funding. For example, Brooklyn’s P.S. 185 is owed more than $1.1 million and J.H.S. 259 is owed nearly $3 million. The total for both schools would be more than $4 million, according to the site.

“Look at the money New York state owes Bay Ridge schools alone – it’s staggering,” Brannan told the Brooklyn Eagle. “And we’re not just talking lunch money here, but millions in essential education funding that our children need and deserve. Without these resources, it’s difficult to ensure a sound education, and that’s why Albany needs to step up and provide us with what’s owed.”

 


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