Education Advocates Rally for Funds in Long Island
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Education advocates suing the state to increase funding for New York City public schools are rallying in Long Island today in an attempt to garner support in the backyard of some of their staunchest opponents.
The Campaign for Fiscal Equity, which sued the state in 1993 to force it to allocate more money to New York City public schools, says the results of the lawsuit would help alter inequalities between Long Island school districts, some of the most segregated in the nation.
While the lawsuit applies only to New York City schools, CFE representatives say it would set a precedent that would make some of Long Island’s poorest districts, where there are large concentrations of minorities, eligible for millions of dollars in extra funding.
“They’re still separate, and they’re still unequal,” the director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, Lisa Tyson, said. “Students of color are not getting an equal education.”
The CFE says school districts like Westbury, which is 46% black, 50% Hispanic, and 1.7% white and where 83% of students are eligible for free and reduced price lunches, could receive $22 million in extra funds under the precedent set by the lawsuit.
Republican senators of Long Island, who have long opposed the lawsuit, said that despite the CFE’s promise to bring more money to some of their school districts, they had not been persuaded to change their minds.
“The people I represent have some of the highest tax rates in the state,” state Senator Kenneth LaValle said.”It does little or nothing for them.”
On October 10, the state Court of Appeals will hold the last scheduled hearing in the 13-year-old case, which contends that all New York City public school students were not receiving a sound basic education due to funding imbalances.The state already has paid $9.2 billion in capital costs to the city schools, but has yet to pay the operating aid of between $4.7 billion and $5.63 billion a year required by the appellate court decision.