FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND CHANCELLOR KLEIN - JOINED BY SPEAKER QUINN, CHAIRMAN JACKSON AND UFT PRESIDENT WEINGARTEN - URGE NEW YORKERS TO DEMAND FAIR SHARE OF EDUCATION CAPITAL AID FROM ALBANY, OR 21 SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS WILL STOP THIS YEAR
21 New School Construction Projects Encompassing 15,000 Classroom Seats Will Stop Without Action From State This Year
68 More School Buildings At Risk In Coming Years Costing Another 38,000 Seats
Student Classrooms, Science Labs, Arts Facilities, Libraries, Gymnasiums, and Playgrounds Will Also be Halted
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Council Education Chair Robert Jackson and United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein revealed the 21 new school construction projects, encompassing nearly 15,000 classroom seats and other renovations, that are now in jeopardy of not being completed because of the State's continued refusal to adequately fund the Department of Education's (DOE ) capital projects under the court-mandated Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE).
In addition, another 68 school buildings currently being planned are at risk in coming years. These schools would provide an additional 38,000 seats.
The Mayor, the Chancellor, the Speaker, the Chairman, and the UFT President urged New Yorkers to call their elected State Officials and demanded that the State provide the school construction funding owed to New York City under the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) Lawsuit.
Under the CFE, New York State owes New York City billions of dollars for capital construction. In the previous fiscal year, because no provision for DOE capital funding was made in the State Executive Budget, the City advanced $1.3 billion to complete construction projects that the State must fund. Governor's Executive Budget released this past January again did not include provisions for funding the DOE's Capital Plan. As a result, this year's DOE capital budget is short $1.8 billion - putting new school buildings, science labs, libraries, arts facilities, gymnasiums and playgrounds in jeopardy.
"It's time for the State to end its delinquency," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The State must do what's right and meet its duties to our City's schoolchildren. New York City Public Schools are being shortchanged year after year and the courts have determined that the State has a constitutional obligation to provide this critical funding. It's time that the State stepped up and met its responsibility to ensure that every child - in every borough - is accorded the sound basic education that is their right. Unless the State meets its obligation, 15,000 classroom seats, new schools, libraries, labs and gyms will be postponed."
"New York State continues to neglect its constitutional duty as ordered by the New York State Supreme Court in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity," said Chancellor Klein. "As a result, too many of our students will be relegated for yet another year to inadequate classrooms and to schools without libraries, laboratories, gymnasiums or playgrounds. This is unacceptable. The State owes our children their fair share."
"Despite a huge state surplus, the governor has ignored CFE and put out a budget that is divisive and shortchanges our City's children," UFT President Randi Weingarten said. "You can't help kids pass the science Regents' exam without science labs, or help kids be prepared for school without all-day pre-K -- and you can't lower class size without more capacity or fight obesity without gyms and playgrounds."
Calling for a united front, the Mayor and Chancellor and their guests encouraged parents and community leaders to reach out to their State Assembly representatives and State Senators and the Governor to voice their concern and insist on their full support of CFE funding to City schools. Information on how to reach elected state officials is available through 311.
Across the City, nearly 15,000 new classroom seats will not be completed due to the delay of construction on the 21 projects. These include elementary, middle and high school facilities across the City. In addition, the City will lose nearly 40 new science labs, 15 new libraries, 60 new athletic facilities, 40 new arts facilities, 20 new technology upgrades and 20 new heating systems.
Citywide the following projects 21 new construction projects will be delayed:
In addition, another 68 schools across the City that are currently at risk without the educational aid owed New York City. These schools would contain approximately 38,000 new seats for students. Preliminary work on 11 of these schools has already been started.
As a result of the State's failure to allocate CFE funding, the Amendment announced today re-allocates the expected State contribution of $6.5 billion to Fiscal Years 2007, 2008 and 2009. Last year, due to the failure of the State to provide capital funds to the City, the Mayor and City Council advanced City funds to ensure that critical projects could go forward. As a result, available funds for Fiscal Year 2006 were reduced from $1.3 billion to $800 million. Fiscal Year 2006 capital funds are being used for the most critical building upgrades and new building construction. The Panel for Educational Policy is scheduled to vote on the Draft Amendment at the next Panel meeting on Monday, February 27, 2006.
Stu Loeser/Virginia Lam (212) 788-2958
Jerry Russo (Department of Education)