200 March Against Education Cuts at Governor’s Mansion!
Robert Jackson, who, as a New York City parent filed the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit in 1993 and went on to become the Education Chairman of the New York City Council, led a protest today in front of the Governor’s Mansion. The protest was focused on the fact that Governor Cuomo’s $1.5 billion budget cuts would take back the CFE funding that was previously delivered to schools statewide. Over 200 protesters from Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse, and Yonkers marched from the Black & Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus conference at the Legislative Office Building to the Governor’s Mansion.
“In 2003, I walked 150 miles to Albany because an eighth grade education was not a ‘sound basic education’ for our children,” said Robert Jackson, CFE plaintiff and New York City Council Education Chair. “The Campaign for Fiscal Equity won that legal battle in New York’s highest court and in 2011 an eighth grade education is still not enough! It is unconscionable for Governor Cuomo to balance the budget on the backs of our children—their future is at stake. How can he be setting our school children back while offering tax cuts to New York’s highest income earners? This budget would take back every dollar in CFE funding ever delivered by the state. I ask all the New York State legislators to stand up for our children and protect their right to quality schools.”
The CFE lawsuit was filed in 1993 and was finally resolved in 2007 with the enactment of a four-year commitment to increase school aid statewide by $7 billion including $5.5 billion in basic classroom operating aid, known as foundation aid. Seventy percent of the new classroom aid was designated for high need schools and students. After two years of meeting the funding commitment the state froze funding in 2009 and made $1.4 billion in school cuts last year. Governor Cuomo’s $1.5 billion in cuts would take back the remaining CFE funds. Robert Jackson led a walk from New York City to Albany in 2003 following a ruling by an Appellate Division court that said an eighth grade education was adequate. This decision was overturned by the state’s highest court which ordered a “meaningful high school education” also known as a “sound basic education.”