ALBANY, N.Y. Dec. 29, 2016 — New York State United Teachers today cheered a state Supreme Court judge’s decision ordering the state to release $37.5 million in funding to nine schools labeled as ‘persistently failing,’ affirming the union’s position that additional investment and opportunity are essential to helping students in chronically under-funded schools to grow academically.
NYSUT President Karen E. Magee said the 25-page ruling by Judge Kimberly A. O’Connor directs the Division of Budget to provide the funding that had been withheld from nine schools — including Roosevelt HS in Yonkers, the Mosholu Parkway MS in the Bronx and William S. Hackett MS in Albany — after they had demonstrated progress and the State Education Department removed them from its list of troubled schools under the state’s receivership law. Parents from those schools were plaintiffs in the case, which was filed in September 2016.
“This is an important victory. Resources matter,” Magee said. “It defies reason for the state to promise resources to help struggling, under-funded schools to improve and, just as they are making clear progress, to yank the necessary funding away. These nine schools submitted two-year plans for improvement, and had earmarked a second year of state funding to hire social workers, mental health workers and guidance counselors; improve health services and provide additional professional development and academic support. But after the schools showed progress, the state withheld the second year of funds. That's wrong. The whole premise of the receivership law is badly flawed. Students and their schools should not be punished for working hard and making progress.”
The suit was filed by the Education Law Center and attorneys Wendy Lecker and David Sciarra. NYSUT works closely with the ELC and provides funding and legal support.
In addition to the Division of Budget, the suit named the State Education Department. The Department and Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, however, agreed the appropriated funding should be released to the nine schools.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.