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NYC and Syracuse Mayors Urge Governor, State to Meet Legal School Funding Obligation so Local Communities an Invest in Critical School Reforms

March 9, 2015

NEW YORK—New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner today called on the State to meet its school funding obligations under the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court decision and provide the much-needed resources local communities require to implement critical reforms that will turn around struggling schools and best serve our students.

Some of these groundbreaking reforms currently pursued by municipalities like New York City include offering community schools services like mental health supports that will keep kids in the classroom; providing extended day learning; creating new CTE and STEM programs so students graduate ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow; expanding summer school opportunities to ensure summer learning loss doesn’t hold back progress, and putting more guidance counselors into schools so students can access critical social and emotional supports. Syracuse’s fair share of CFE dollars would enable the City to focus on reforms like extending the school day, hiring more great teachers, and expanding STEM and arts education programs for students. 

However, under the landmark CFE court decision[1], local municipalities across New York State have continued to be chronically underfunded. In fact, local municipalities are still owed $5.8 billion. New York City, for example, is still owed $2.6 billion under the CFE ruling for this year alone, while Syracuse has been shortchanged $87.1 million. At the same time, the State enters the 2015-2016 budget cycle with a nearly $8 billion surplus[2]

“Having the dollars needed to implement the reforms that will fix a broken status quo is critical,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Providing the proper dollars to invest in game-changing reforms like community schools that decrease absenteeism and provide social and emotional supports can help make sure kids come to school prepared to learn. Resources are also needed to extend the learning day and expand summer school opportunities, so children can avoid summer learning loss and return each September prepared to succeed. STEM programs and technology in our classrooms must be expanded to ensure cutting-edge resources are at our students’ fingertips. These are the needs to initiate real, meaningful reform. But for far too long, the State has failed to meet its court-mandated responsibility to provide enough resources to local school districts. One of the most important education acts the State can make to turn around struggling schools is to end the year-in, year-out cycle of shortchanging our principals, teachers and ultimately students. We must ensure our schools have the dollars needed to make the groundbreaking reforms that will reverse the unacceptable status quo, and serve our kids.”

“The City of Syracuse planned to utilize the CFE funds in an innovative way by fully funding the Say Yes to Education program in Syracuse,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner. “The innovative programs of Say Yes provide enriched and extended academic programming, in addition to comprehensive community supports to help students and families. Syracuse—the first city to implement Say Yes to Education district-wide in the United States—had to retrench and re-plan when NYS failed to meet its Constitutional responsibility. It is time to give our students and families the support they deserve, so we can change outcomes, and, most importantly, the futures of our most important asset—our children.” 

New York City has launched a broad and ambitious education agenda to transform schools across all five boroughs and turn around historically struggling schools. In just over a year, New York City has put more than 50,000 4-year-olds on an educational path to success, doubled after-school programs for middle schoolers, created more than 60 PROSE schools encouraging innovative practices to give teachers the latitude to tailor instruction to best serve students, created 40 new and expanded dual-language programs, and expanded professional development opportunities, because every child deserves the best teacher at the front of every classroom. Similarly, Syracuse is pursuing school reforms that include longer school days, adding more teachers, and making STEM and arts education more available and accessible to students. Yet without the resources owed by Albany to local communities, these initiatives will be unrealized—and the cycle of struggling schools will continue. 

State Shortfalls to Municipalities under Campaign for Fiscal Equity 

New York City:                                  -$2.6 billion
Syracuse:                                             -$87.1 million
Total Statewide CFE shortfall:              -$5.8 billion 


[1] New York City Office of Management and Budget

[2] Assembly Ways and Means Committee / New York State Comptroller

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