"Governor Cuomo has promoted himself as a leader in education policy. His mastery of Albany’s famously dysfunctional politics has made him one of the nation’s rising political stars. But the results in the classroom do not match his rhetoric — and unless our state government changes course on education funding policy, they never will." Article by Billy Easton, "Albany's Unkindest Cut of All", May 25th, 2012
"Poor school districts are being forced to cut electives, remedial tutoring, foreign languages and other programs and services to balance budgets. Many schools in less prosperous areas face what the state commissioner of education calls “educational insolvency.”
"Only five years ago, the state committed to pumping $5.5 billion into classrooms, with 72 percent slated for the neediest schools, whether in urban, rural or suburban communities. This commitment, similar to those made in other states, came after 13 years of litigation by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, based on the state Constitution’s guarantee of a “sound, basic education” for all students. Unfortunately, that progressive commitment was abandoned as the state faced fiscal hard times."
"New York started cutting education resources in 2009."
"The problem grew worse in 2010 and 2011, when Albany made $2.7 billion in school aid cuts, resulting in the loss of 30,000 educators and increased class sizes at two-thirds of the state’s schools."
"A new statewide cap on how high local revenues can be raised is further exacerbating educational inequities. The cap limits property tax hikes to 2 percent, which may sound fair but actually contributes to school inequality: the permitted tax increase raises a lot more revenue from million-dollar homes for wealthy schools than it raises on $100,000 homes for poorer schools."
"Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has been the most vocal proponent both of cutting and capping state school aid and of capping local revenues."
Article by Board of Cooperative Educational Services, May 2012
Q. Will the tax cap legislation affect all school districts equally?
"The tax cap legislation will affect all districts to varying degrees, but it is clear that some will be affected much more than others. In particular, for poor and/or rural school districts with low property wealth and declining tax bases, staying within their “tax levy limits” will severely restrict their ability to generate the revenues needed to sustain core educational programs."
"This discrepancy is largely rooted in what an increasing number of school leaders say is an unfair formula for distributing state aid to districts around the state."
In 2006 after 13 years of litigation the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the state’s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. After the previous Governor and Legislature finally made good on their commitment to providing a sound basic education, our current Governor and Legislature have turned their back once again with “bullet aid” to wealthy Republican Senate Districts and an erosion of funding from the schools that need it.
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Section 1. The legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free common schools, wherein all the children of this state may be educated. (Formerly §1 of Art. 9. Renumbered by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938.)