would you go about getting a fair share of the state education
budget for NYC?
HB: The Court ruling will help. The opinion is likely to be
upheld in one form or another. The Governor is appealing, and
the appeals will take a couple of years. In the meantime he hopes
to get reelected, and then some agreement will be reached.
I would continue supporting the legal process to get NYC’s
fair share of state funds per the court decision in favor of the
lawsuit filed by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. And I would strongly
lobby the Governor and state legislature to bring the school funding
formula in balance.
I’ve already played a leadership role in getting a fair share
for our City by being a party to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity
lawsuit. I did so because the state robbed 1.1 million school
children—overwhelmingly black and Latino, working class and poor—and
I take this personally. If I were Mayor, I would’ve pitched a
tent up in Albany after CFE decision and not left until we got
a guarantee that there would be suitable resolution. I would be
screaming at Governor Pataki’s STAR program, which is essentially
a student aid program that benefits the state’s wealthiest districts,
or about the NY State lotto, which also is disproportionately
funded by NYC residents, yet we do not see an equivalent increase
in our state aid. As Mayor, I will not allot critical funds to
unnecessary endeavors like building as many sta-
diums as possible. Instead, I will focus on getting the resources
to the classroom.
The Court has said that the State must do more. I will be
a vocal advocate in holding the State accountable. The City must
also change its priorities to focus on educating children. The
City must spend a greater proportion of its capital funds on schools.
I’ll use $250 million in funds now allocated for renovating jail
beds to relieve overcrowding in schools. Too often, policy makers
think that the only two choices in dealing with shortfalls or
financing new expenditures are revenue increases or across-the-board
cuts. I will seek a third way—it’s called management. I support
new funding for school construction to reduce class size and will
ensure that the BoE maximizes the use of existing space through
The CFE has already won the first, and major round, with the
Court decision that says that NYC has been cheated, in raw numbers,
by $4 billion since 1987. We will win because the decision is
based on the State constitution. In addition, and this may not
be the best politics, I have always said that if we need it, as
a last resort we should restore the income tax surcharge to support
education. This was initiated to pay for more cops, and it worked.
This is in the context of a very substantial federal income tax
The City is paying the way for the State and our children
are paying the price. As Mayor, I will relentlessly lobby Albany
for funding that is proportionate to the number of students we
educate. As Speaker of the City Council, I have earmarked billions
of dollars to reduce class size, replace dangerous coal-burning
furnaces, update textbooks, renovate crumbling schools and install
computers in every classroom. Now, I have the plan to further
address such failures and turn our schools around: it’s a program
called Smart Kids/Smart City. My plan will dedicate NYC’s residential
property taxes exclusively to our instruction in our schools.
My plan does not require raising taxes or cutting services—it
means that the over $4 billion already paid each year in residential
property taxes will be used only for public education. This will
increase the City’s contribution to instructional services and
support in our schools by $500 million dollars a year. It means
that funds from Albany, earmarked for education will be used only
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