Lawsuit Seeking Money Cuomo Owes to NYS School Children Gets Greenlight From Judge!

money

 

UPPDATED: 11/20/14 AT 5:10 PM

THIS POST HAS GENERATED SOME AIR PLAY ON SOCIAL MEDIA. I HAVE BEEN ASKED TO PROVIDE A BREAK DOWN OF THE EXACT AMOUNT OF MONEY CUOMO AND THE STATE OWE DISTRICTS. THEREFORE, I AM UPDATING THIS POST NOW TO PROVIDE THE GENERAL FIGURES BY REGION AND THE FULL EXCEL SHEET WITH THE BREAKDOWN DISTRICT BY DISTRICT OF MONIES OWED TO OUR SCHOOLS AS OF AUGUST 2014.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 5.05.59 PM

 

MONIES OWED DISTRICT BY DISTRICT: 

$$$ Cuomo & State Owes to NYS Children by District

 

As I mentioned in a prior post, Governor Cuomo and common core are failing New York. The governor’s passage of “four on-time budgets in a row” and claims Cuomo “closed the budget gap” during his service were achieved by siphoning billions of dollars from education. This has resulted in increased class sizes, loss of essential programs such as art and music, narrowing of the curriculum and a lack of essential school resources needed to operate. Students are being deprived of their constitutionally protected right to obtain a sound basic education.

You can read more about my views  here:

http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/08/29/view-shah-common-core/14809461/

But, I digress.

I would like to update  you on the status of the NYSER case.

Please recall, this lawsuit was filed against  Cuomo, the State and defendants Commissioner King and the Regents to compel the state to pay schools across the state the money they are owed to provide students a sound basic education under the NYS constitution and as a matter of law.

Through the trifecta of GEA clawback, frozen Foundation Aid and property tax cap together with unfunded mandates, schools have been deprived millions and face fiscal and educational insolvency.

Indeed, Cuomo and NYS owes my district Spackenkill UFSD a whopping $3,417,709.
We are not alone. Our neighbor Wappingers is owed over $26M, Arlington over $19M, etc.

Think of all the teachers, programs and resources that our schools have cut and lost out on as a result of being deprived adequate school funding as prescribed by law!!!

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.

My advocacy group Hudson Valley Parent Ed is a plaintiff of this lawsuit. Defendants Cuomo et al filed a motion to dismiss asking the Judge to kick the casae out of court.  The defendants claimed that the case had no merit and that the plaintiffs had no standing to bring it.

The Judge denied the motion in its entirety and gave plaintiffs a green light to continue.

While we have a way to go, this is a victory nontheless!

Read more here:

STATE SUPREME COURT FINDS FOR PLAINTIFFS IN MAJOR SCHOOL FUNDING CASE

November 18, 2014 – New York, NY — Rejecting the state’s attempt to dismiss a major litigation seeking to enforce the funding and other constitutional mandates established in the landmark Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York litigation (“CFE”), Justice Manuel J. Mendez of the New York State Supreme Court, New York County, issued an order today that upholds the right of the plaintiffs in New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights (“NYSER”) to proceed with their litigation against the state, and against Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state defendants. The NYSER litigation, filed earlier this year, alleges that in 2007, following the Court of Appeals’ final decision in CFE, the governor and the state legislature enacted a major reform act that committed the state to increasing funding for students in the New York City Public Schools by approximately $5 billion per year, and for students in the rest of the state by approximately $4 billion per year, all to be phased in over a four-year period. Since 2009, however, the state has reneged on these commitments. Although the state has never repealed the 2007 legislation, it has failed to fund schools in accordance with its foundation formula.

Despite some increases in state funding for education over the past few years, the state is still $5.6 billion short of the amounts owed under that formula, according to the plaintiffs. Referring specifically to some of the devices and mechanisms the state has used to reduce its education appropriations, Justice Mendez held that “the ‘gap elimination
adjustment’…. the cap on state-aid increases, the supermajority requirements concerning increases in local property tax levies,” together with penalty provisions imposed on New York City students last year in connection with the implementation of the new teacher evaluation system, all “could potentially be found irrational, arbitrary or capricious and capable of preventing a sound basic education.”

The Court also held that, “The claims asserted by plaintiffs are not tenuous, there is a potential risk of harm to public school students and to school districts derived from financial distress.” Justice Mendez also rejected the state’s claim that individual plaintiffs from all of the approximately 700 school districts in the state would need to participate for plaintiffs to proceed with this lawsuit and that NYSER as an organization lacked standing to sue. He held that “This Court will not ‘close the courthouse doors’ on the individual plaintiffs’ potentially viable 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1373, New York, NY 10027 http://www.nyser.og Tel: 646-745-8288 constitutional claims affecting schoolchildren in New York State,” and that NYSER, whose “stated mission is to ensure that all students in the State of New York receive the opportunity for a sound basic education” also has standing.
The state now has 20 days to file an answer to the complaint, after which preparations for trial can commence.

“We are pleased that the Court has quickly and definitively rejected the state’s motion to dismiss, and we look forward to quickly moving this case along so that students throughout the state can receive the educational opportunities that the state constitution clearly intends them to enjoy,” said Douglas Schwarz, a partner at Bingham McCutchen, who serves as co-counsel for the plaintiffs. “We hope that this important decision will cause the governor and the legislature to reconsider their current approach to funding for education and to work with us to promptly ensure that all students truly receive the opportunity for a sound basic education. However, if further litigation is necessary, we are prepared to continue to fight this case vigorously,” added Michael A. Rebell, co-counsel for the NYSER plaintiffs. (Rebell also served as co-counsel for
plaintiffs in the CFE litigation.)

NYSER v. State of New York was filed earlier this year by 16 parents from New York City and from urban, suburban and rural districts throughout the state, and by NYSER, an organization whose members include the New York State School Boards Association, the New York State Council of School Superintendents, the New York State PTA, the New York State Association of School Business Officials, the Statewide School Finance Consortium, the Rural Schools Association, 11 of New York City’s Community Education Councils, Hudson Valley Parent Educator Init. and a number of other parent groups and advocacy groups around the state. The plaintiffs are seeking immediate financial relief, as well as the adoption of a series of mechanisms that will ensure adequate and equitable funding for all students in New York State on a sustained, long-term basis. For more
information on the suit, see http://www.nyser.org.

Blog post:
http://educationalequityblog.org/…/new-york-state-supreme-…/
Press Release:
http://nebula.wsimg.com/f0ad3f4c0e7740aa767e7e0e9bf1d8b6?AccessKeyId=10E32CEEA4C7F778D7AE&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

 

Regarding money that Cuomo and NYS owes our schools, Pojo reports that the State owes Dutchess Co schools millions (breakdown listed below):

ALBANY – New York has skipped out on $5.9 billion in school funding in recent years, leading to inequities in aid between rich and poor districts and causing cuts in programs, education groups contended in a report Thursday.

New York spends the most per capita in the nation on its schools, $19,076 per student, and pumps more than $22 billion a year into education, including a 5 percent increase in the current fiscal year.

But the labor-backed Alliance for Quality Education and other advocates said the state is still falling short. The groups charged that New York hasn’t upheld a 2006 court order to increase aid to schools by $5.5 billion by 2011 and has also not repaid schools for cuts made during the recession.

For public schools in Dutchess County, $84.3 million is owed, according to the report. The amounts range from $481,109 for Webutuck Central School District to $26,296,067 for Wappingers Central School District.

“Systemic underfunding is leaving a generation of students in high-need schools without access to the ‘sound basic education’ which is their constitutional right,” the report said.

The report said the funding disparities are pronounced in lower wealth districts compared to richer ones. For small cities and suburbs deemed by the state as having “high need,” the amount owed to them is 3.3 times greater than of wealthy districts. For the “Big Four” school districts of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers, the amount is 2.8 times larger than wealthy districts.

New York froze state aid to schools in the 2009-10 fiscal year then cut it by nearly $3 billion in the following two years, mainly to districts’ base aid. The report said that about $1 billion has yet to be recouped, and 69 percent of schools have less classroom operating aid than they did in 2008.

About 43 percent of the aid the groups said is due to the schools would go to New York City. The majority of aid the groups said is owed to districts comes from the 2006 settlement, so-called foundation aid, saying about $4.8 billion has yet to be realized. Groups are suing to get the state to pay up.

The report said that Binghamton city schools are short $21 million, while it’s about $13 million in Elmira schools and $4.7 million in Ithaca.

The most due in Westchester County is $47 million in Yonkers, the report contended. Rochester city schools are short $134 million. Cuomo has said that school aid continues to grow, up nearly $3 billion over the past three years. But he has argued that the spending hasn’t led to better results because New York is in the middle of the nation in performance.

In November, voters will decide on a $2 billion bond initiative to improve school technology.

“It’s not about ‘more money gets us more results,’ ” Cuomo said in a radio interview in January. “Because if that was the case, our students would be doing better than any students in the country; because we are spending more than anyone else.”

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/…/new-york-edu…/13750545/

MONEY OWED

Below is a breakdown of the amount owed to local school districts from the state, according to the Alliance for Quality Education.

DUTCHESS COUNTY

Arlington

$19,421,152

Beacon

$6,465,583

Dover

$3,529,083

Hyde Park

$7,426,930

Millbrook

$1,522,030

Pawling

$1,346,339

Pine Plains

$1,067,001

Poughkeepsie

$11,389,904

Red Hook

$989,679

Rhinebeck

$967,472

Spackenkill

$3,417,709

Wappingers

$26,296,067

Webutuck

$481,109

Ulster County

Highland

$4,118,450

Kingston

$12,003,047

Marlboro

$3,815,938

New Paltz

$2,725,243

 

Read the AQE report here:
NYS is BILLION$ behind in adequately funding schools so that schools can meet Constitutional obligation to provide a sound basic education to our students manifesting in cut art, music and sports programs, firing of teachers and large class sizes among other things.
http://www.aqeny.org/…/2014/08/REPORT-NY-Billions-Behind.pdf

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