June 5, 2017

NY Parents Push for Statewide Relief on Underfunded Schools

The appeal at issue involves three consolidated cases that accuse various state officials of trampling students’ rights to a sound basic education by underfunding of the New York City School District by billions of dollars.

After the Manhattan Supreme Court refused New York’s efforts to dismiss the case, an appellate panel largely affirmed last year, agreeing to dismiss only certain causes of action.

Pushing for a comprehensive dismissal Tuesday, the state’s Amend disputed that the plaintiffs are eligible for statewide relief.

“The diversity of needs, costs and conditions in localities across the state, along with the important element of local control [that] is embedded in the Education Article itself, mean that the denial of dollars from the state is not going to have a uniform impact across districts,” Amend said. “In fact, the degree of impact likely to be very different.”

This argument drew derision, however, from Michael Rebell, an attorney for the parents and the advocacy group that initiated the underlying challenges.

“It’s a literal impossibility for us to take every district in the state that we think is underfunded and run a trial for them,” Rebell said.

“This is the first case to raise the statewide issue, and we’ve done this for good reason because we’ve learned over the last 10 years that this is a statewide issue, that the only way New York City, Syracuse, Yonkers or any other district in the state is going to get an acceptable remedy or is going to get their right to sound basic education, is if the state sets up an adequate statewide formula,”: Rebell added.

Read the full story at Courthouse News Service.