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Community Warned of "Crafty" NYC School Funding

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007   


Last night parents and teachers met with education watchdogs to discuss New York City's landmark $7 billion education funding increase. Geri Palast, head of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, says parents have a right to make sure the funding reaches the city's neediest kids and isn't high-jacked for other purposes.

"We need to get very specific. We need to ask: 'How do you make these investments and where do they go?' Otherwise they'll find crafty ways to report what they use to plug existing holes."

Palast explains that such a large funding increase needs to be watched carefully.

"(We should know) where the money has been spent, on which schools, on which students, in which programs, so that at the end of the year we know if these investments made a difference."

The spending increase is part of a 14-year lawsuit against the state to deliver more education funding to poor New York City schools. The lawsuit was made into law with this year's state budget. According to Palast, during the budget negotiations, politics diverted some money to wealthier schools. Now she says she's worried the same thing could happen in New York City.

"As we implement the regulations we have those same kinds of problems that we need to face. We want to make sure the money is spent predominantly on the neediest children."

New York City Department of Education will be releasing a draft of its funding priorities later this month for public comment.


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