In 2014, New Yorkers for Students’ Educational Rights (NYSER) filed a lawsuit on the behalf of New York State’s public school students charging that the state is neglecting its constitutional duty to ensure that every student receives a “sound basic education.” In NYSER v. State of New York, plaintiffs argue the state has failed to implement the school-funding reforms that it committed to adopt in response to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) court decisions.
To move the case ahead more quickly, earlier last week, NYSER plaintiffs filed a “motion for summary judgment” that asks State Supreme Court Justice Manuel J. Mendez to bypass a lengthy trial and declare, based on the state’s indisputable actions and inactions in recent years, that the state has violated the Court of Appeals’ CFE orders and has failed to achieve constitutional compliance.
Plaintiffs argue that, despite recent increases, there are still significant gaps in core foundation funding for education. According to the plaintiffs, foundation aid for 2015-16 will still be almost $5 billion less than what the state determined was necessary to ensure that every school can provide all of its students with at least a sound basic education.
Plaintiffs in the case include 25 parents from around the state and NYSER, an organization whose members include 11 of New York City’s community education councils, the New York State PTA, New York State School Boards Association, the New York State Council of School Superintendents, the New York State Association of School Business Officials, the Statewide School Finance Consortium, the Rural Schools Association, and a number of other parent and advocacy groups. Counsel for plaintiffs are Michael A. Rebell, Esq., and Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Douglas T. Schwarz, John A. Vasallo, and Brendan T. Chestnut, of counsel.
The recent motion asks Justice Mendez to give the state a deadline of the 2016-17 school year to remedy constitutional violations either by providing full funding in accordance with the foundation funding formula set forth in the state statutes or by creating an alternative state education finance system that meets constitutional requirements.
Read more about this new development and the NYSER v. State of New York case at www.NYSER.org.