. Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. 3/10/2005.
School districts could see a significant increase in state aid if a proposal that plays off a recent court order is adopted, an education advocate said on Wednesday in Rochester.
The proposed legislation, called The Schools for New York's Future Act, is based on a New York City case that dates to 1993 and was led by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, a group of school funding reform advocates. The group successfully sued the state, claiming it was violating a constitutional mandate to provide a sound, basic education for city students.
Michael Rebell, the group's executive director, came to Rochester to seek support for applying the principle of the case statewide.
State Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse last month ordered the state to boost school aid to New York City by $5.6 billion a year about double what the city gets now.
Rebell said it would cost an additional $3 billion to help needy districts across the state.
But Gov. George Pataki has said the state plans to appeal DeGrasse's order.
The Schools for New York's Future Act has been endorsed by the Alliance for Quality Education, an education advocacy group, and the groups now are looking to the Legislature for backing.
"In Monroe County, we have huge needs that are not being met," said Maria Behncke, Rochester-area coordinator for the Alliance for Quality Education. "We need our senators advocating for our kids."
Sen. Joseph Robach, R-Greece, said he hasn't seen the proposal but is always looking for ways to bring more education dollars into the area.