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New York Budget Agreement Partially Fulfills Court Order To Bolster Schools

Alan Levine

The New York State budget includes a $3 billion dollar increase in money for schools as part of a plan to fulfill a 15-year-old court order that required the state to spend significantly more on schools to guarantee every child’s constitutional right to an education.

In 2006, New York’s highest court ruled that children in the state were being denied their constitutional right to a “sound basic” education, and the state had to spend billions more dollars on its poorest schools. A plan to fulfill the court order stalled during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, and was not revived until this year’s budget, when it was proposed and passed by the Democratic-led Legislature. By the 2023 school year, the court order will be fulfilled.

Jasmine Gripper, with the pro-education funding group Alliance for Quality Education, said it’s a victory that’s long overdue.

“We had them say they were going to do it, we had the Assembly say it, then we had the Senate say it,” Gripper said. “And we finally got it in the language in the enacted budget.”

And she said the plan guarantees that the funding will remain at that rate in future years.

Public colleges and universities and their students also benefit in the budget. A tuition hike at the State and City University systems proposed by the governor was removed by the Legislature, and tuition will be frozen next year. Student aid grants will increase by $500.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.