Governor Cuomo has lost his second battle in three months in the Small City School Education Funding case.
The New York State Appellate Court has rejected Cuomo’s request to appeal a May 27th decision in the small city school case – Maisto versus State of New York. The unanimous decision by the Third Appellate Division in May overturned the Governor’s position that education aid in 8 small city school districts, including Jamestown, was constitutionally sufficient.
Cuomo argued that there were important constitutional issues yet to be determined in the appeal received on July 12th. The court denied the motion without comment.
The decision leaves New York State with no option but to take steps necessary to provide significant additional school aid to these districts. Any further appeal would only allow the Governor to delay the case further which has been his primary tactic since 2008 when the Maisto case was commenced.
The case will have enormous impact on education funding, in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually just for the eight districts of Jamestown, Kingston, Mount Vernon, Newburgh, Niagara Falls, Port Jervis, Poughkeepsie and Utica. If the principles established by the Third Department decision are applied statewide, the fiscal impact could be even greater.
The Maisto plaintiffs started the case in 2008 because they believed their districts were not getting enough educational funding/resources to give their students, mainly poor and disadvantaged, what they needed to succeed and that this violated the state constitution.
This was substantiated by the districts’ very low graduation rates, teacher pupil ratios and support staff ratios. During the period covered by the trial of the case, which looked at the districts’ performances from 2006-7 to 2013-14, these districts lost over $1 billion in promised funding which resulted in over 1500 teacher and staff layoffs.