For More Information:
Soneni Smith, AQE Deputy Director,
(212) 523-0186; (917) 517-9393 (mobile)
Bob Cohen, AQE Research and Public Policy Director, (518) 465-4600 x104
For Immediate Release:
February 16, 2005
NYC parents joined by Susan Sarandon, Randi Weingarten (President, UFT), Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, Michael Rebell (Executive Director, CFE), Cynthia Nixon (AQE Spokesperson), Council Education Chair Eva Moskowitz, Council Member Bill DeBlasio, Council Member & CFE Lead Plaintiff Robert Jackson, Lillian Roberts (Executive Director, AFSCME District 37), Stuart Appelbaum (President, RWDSU), Edgar Romney (President, UNITE NY Metro Area Joint Board), Dr. Benjamin Chavis (President & CEO, Hip Hop Summit Action Network), Rev. Jill Schaeffer (Woodlawn Heights Presbyterian Church) and other notable elected leaders, labor leaders and clergy to:
Demand Governor, Legislature, Mayor Resolve CFE Now
AQE kicks Off WWW.OurKidsCantWait.Org Campaign
New York, NYIts been 12 years since the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case was brought, and the Governor has lost again and again. Its time to implement CFE statewide and give every child in the state the opportunity for a sound basic education, said noted actor Cynthia Nixon, a New York City school parent and spokesperson for the Alliance for Quality Education.
Nixon spoke on the steps of New York City Hall to launch AQEs website www.OurKidsCantWait.org designed to generate thousands of letters to Governor Pataki urging him not to appeal.
OurKidsCantWait.org will enable concerned citizens everywhere to get involved, to spread the word and to lobby their legislators. And NYSUT is mobilizing more than 70,000 activists to put some pressure on the governor, the majority leader, the speaker and the mayor to resolve CFE now, said Randi Weingarten, UFT president. Everyone here knows what the court decided - I don't have to repeat all the details. Everyone here knows how long this has been dragging on and how the underfunding of our schools has truly hurt our kids - and is continuing to hurt our kids.
The Courts have spoken. The Governor and the legislature need to come up with a compliance plan within 90 days. We hope that all the parties will come together and negotiate a solution, but if an appeal is taken, we will fight it vigorously, and ask the court to enforce the 90 day compliance order ------ with heavy sanctions if necessary. Our kids cannot wait another year and further delay of the inevitable is unconscionable, said Michael Rebell, executive director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, the group that brought the lawsuit.
"Albany has shortchanged our students for decades and we now have the opportunity to provide them with the sound basic education they need and deserve. The Governor and Legislature need to come together and ensure that this court order is followed. Our priorities should be on our students, not on a football stadium that does nothing for New Yorkers. Our students have seen the backs of Albany for too long, it's now time they turn around and face the dilemma that has plagued our schools for much too long," said City Council Speaker Gifford Miller.
Chair of the City Council Education Committee Eva Moscowitz said, Justice DeGrasse's decision reaffirms what we've known for more than a decade: Albany doesn't do right by New York City's school children. I just don't know how Governor Pataki can look New York City parents in the eye. Albany needs to deliver the CFE funding now, not after today's kindergarten students are graduating from high school. I'm tired of looking at my watch and New York City parents and kids are tired of waiting year after year to get the position in the budget cycle pecking order it deserves."
As a public school parent, former school board member, and elected representative of this City, I know our kids can't wait another twelve years for the educational resources they deserve, said City Councilmember Bill DeBlasio. I join in calling for a statewide agreement on school aid reform. It's time to stop deferring justice for our children and immediately implement Justice DeGrasse's order to fairly fund our schools."
Late Monday State Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse ordered the State to implement a plan within 90 days to ensure that NYC schools receive $5.6 billion in additional state funding at the end of a 4-year implementation period, and $1.4 billion in the 2005-06 school year. AQE supports a statewide solution to the case. AQEs web-based campaign is aimed at attracting New Yorkers from all regions of the state to contact state leaders to demand a statewide resolution to the CFE.
A new web site www.OurKidsCantWait.org enables New Yorkers to write a letter and immediately send to the Governor via the Internet. Once on the website, subscribers can forward the link to friends and family encouraging them to write letters. The site includes references to other educational advocacy groups and information and background on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. Subscribers can also make donations to the campaign.
We cant afford another generation of kids in the public school system experiencing overcrowded classrooms, poor school facilities and lacking proper school supplies, libraries and after-school programs, said LeRoi Gill, AQE board member and Director of Central Brooklyn Churches.
AQE is a statewide coalition dedicated to
ensuring every childs right to a quality education.