Assembly Passes Plan to Build Better Schools Statewide

Blueprint addresses shortfalls in high-need districts, helps all students achieve
June 24, 2004

The Assembly passed a school financing plan to fund high-need schools across New York State while making sure that everyone receives and contributes their fair share.

"Equipping all our children with the education they need to meet tomorrow’s challenges is not only a constitutional obligation, but a moral obligation as well," Assemblymember Kevin A. Cahill (D-Ulster and Dutchess Counties) said. "At the same time, we must reject a ‘Robin Hood’ approach that supports some school districts by taking away resources from others. Investing in all New York’s schools is the rising tide that will lift all boats. The Assembly plan does just that."

The Assembly plan, designed to address the school funding inadequacies identified by the state’s highest court in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, will provide nearly $6.1 billion more in aid for schools statewide over five years, with all school districts receiving an increase.

"As part of this proposal, I’m also going to work for an expansion of the Circuit Breaker Program that, along with the aid increases, should bring about greater real property tax relief," Assemblymember Cahill said.

This year, the Assembly plan provides $1.22 billion to restore the Governor’s proposed budget cuts to programs like BOCES, transportation aid and building aid, increases operating aid by $784 million, maintains programs for children with disabilities and increases aid for programs for students with limited English proficiency.

The Assembly plan also establishes a program for meeting the critical educational infrastructure needs of schools across the state. It also calls for New York City to commit $1.2 billion more over the next five years in recognition of the importance of New York City taxpayers contributing their fair share to the solution.

Assemblymember Cahill urged the Governor and Senate to join the Assembly in a public summit to reach agreement on an education reform plan before the July 30 deadline set by the Court of Appeals in the CFE case.

"The Governor and Senate need to come to the table and get behind the Assembly plan because it is the only one that meets the court’s requirements," Mr. Cahill said. "By establishing the cost of a sound, basic education, reforming the funding formula, ensuring that every school has sufficient resources and enhancing accountability, our plan truly invests in our students and ensures that those resources make it to the teachers in our classrooms to produce the results we need for a better tomorrow," he concluded.