Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. . 01/2006.

Bloomberg Calls Governor's School Aid Plan Unjust

New York City Mayor Bloomberg blasted Governor Pataki for proposing an education budget for 2006-07 that doesn't come close to meeting the needs of New York City schools, during testimony at a joint legislative hearing on Monday on the governor's budget. The mayor emphasized the grave harm in the governor's failure to provide adequate funding for school construction projects.

"These [school construction] funds are desperately needed to ease overcrowding, reduce class size and build and modernize gyms, labs and other school facilities," said the mayor. "We still insist that the state do what's right and meet its duties in this area."

In March 2005, in the long-running CFE v. State lawsuit, the State Supreme Court ordered the State of New York to provide the city's schools $9.2 billion in building aid and $5.6 billion in operating aid. The ruling came after the governor failed to make any of the sweeping reforms to the state's school funding system that were ordered by the Court of Appeals in 2003. The governor has appealed the latest order and continues to ignore the underlying Court of Appeals' ruling, which is now over 540 days past the compliance deadline.

On January 17, Pataki unveiled his proposed executive budget for 2006-07. The disappointing education budget ignores the court-mandated increases and puts forth the same less than minimal "sound basic education" plan that has been definitively rejected by both the legislature and the court. The mayor, members of the city council, legislative leaders, and other interested parties have urged the governor to deploy the state's $2 billion budget surplus to comply with the CFE remedy this legislative session.

"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," Mayor Bloomberg testified.

January 24, 2006