The Post-Standard. 2/16/2005.
Twelve years ago, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity began its fight for adequate funding for New York City schools. In that span, an entire generation of children has moved through the public school system without benefiting from their state's constitutional guarantee of a "sound, basic education."
Now Gov. George Pataki is promising to appeal the latest court ruling that would require the state government to adequately finance New York City's schools. That appeal, state officials agree, will give Pataki and lawmakers another year to do nothing.
It's no wonder Pataki's approval rating is dropping like a rock.
The CFE's legal action led to a ruling by the state's highest court in 2003 that required the Legislature to increase its funding. Pataki and lawmakers missed their deadline in July 2004.
Because the governor and Legislature could not act, it was up to a judge to decide that the state must pay $5.6 billion a year more to New York City schools, plus $9.2 billion for renovation, construction and other capital improvements.
Pataki said his latest appeal is necessary because, "It's a separation of powers issue." In other words, a judge should not be making these decisions.
What will it take for New York's government to live up to its constitutional obligations?
If the school board in Syracuse ever gets around to filing its own lawsuit for adequate state funding, will it take another generation for the money to kick in?