Colton to Pataki: Stop Delaying, Fund Our Schools Now!

Assemblymember William Colton (D 47th AD, Brooklyn) while satisfied with Justice DeGrasse’s ruling on funding for New York City schools in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) case, is furious with the statement by Governor Pataki that he will appeal the decision and further delay its implementation.

"This is just a continuation of the Governor’s tactic of delaying the inevitable," stated Colton. "It is long past time for him to stop wasting money on appeals and to finally provide New York City schools with the funding they need to provide a sound education to our children."

The CFE case, dating back to the early 1990’s, argued that the State had violated the constitutional rights of New York City’s schoolchildren by failing to provide equitable funding for New York City’s public schools. In January 2001, Justice DeGrasse found that the state had failed to provide a "sound basic education" provided for in the New York State constitution to school children in New York City. Governor Pataki appealed that decision but again lost the appeal in the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals left it to Justice DeGrasse to determine the remedy for the chronic underfunding of New York City schools.

The decision, released on February 14th, 2005, ruled that an additional $5.6 billion, phased in over four years, must be spent on educating New York City’s public schoolchildren. Additionally, another $9.2 billion must be spent in capital funding to lower class sizes, lessen overcrowding and provide essential learning tools such as laboratories and libraries.

Assemblymember Colton, who was a public school teacher prior to becoming an Assemblymember, has been leading the fight against the inequitable funding of New York City schools by the state. In the past, working together with local groups and District 21, Colton delivered thousands of signatures on petitions and letters to the Governor demanding that he correct the inequitable funding of our local schools.

Justice DeGrasse gave the Governor and the Legislature 90 days to come up with the required funding. "The Governor must come to the table to work out the details to implement this decision," said Assemblymember Colton.