In State of the City, Bloomberg Calls on State Officials to Immediately Fund CFE

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg put the heat on the governor and the legislature during his State of the City address on Thursday, urging them to immediately deliver the city's schools the billions of dollars that the courts have ordered in the CFE case.

"We need our state officials to step to the front of the class and deliver the money we are owed as a result of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. We need that money to build and maintain new facilities to provide more training for teachers and principals and to create more Pre-K programs throughout the city - ensuring that thousands more of our city's kids arrive at kindergarten ready to learn," the mayor said.

In March 2005, the State Supreme Court ordered the State of New York to provide New York City's schools $5.6 billion in operating aid and $9.2 billion in building aid. The governor has appealed the order and continues to ignore the underlying Court of Appeals' ruling -- now over 540 days past the compliance deadline -- to overhaul the entire school-funding system. On January 17, the governor issued his proposed executive budget for 2006-07 and earmarked a paltry $634 million statewide increase for education. The so-called "sound basic education" plan that he put forth has already been rejected by the legislature and the courts.

"We need the money now and together we must continue fighting for it. Because it's not just our school children who are being shortchanged, but the very future of our city," Bloomberg stated in his Thursday address.

The mayor's harsh stance against state lawmakers follows similar statements he has issued since the governor unveiled his budget. Testifying at a joint legislative hearing on January 23, Bloomberg blasted Pataki for recommending an education budget that hardly comes close to meeting the needs of New York City schools. He stressed the governor's failure to properly fund school construction projects as a chief concern.

"Let me tell you, we are not going to stand by and let this happen. We've been shortchanged for too long, and we'll use every resource at our disposal to correct this outrageous injustice. We owe nothing less to our children," Bloomberg testified.

January 27, 2006