Opening arguments in the trial between eight small city school districts – including Jamestown – is set to begin before Judge Kimberly O’Connor.
In the lawsuit, which is known as Maisto v. New York, the eight school districts argue that both parents and teachers have experienced the negative effects of inadequate state aid. The districts say that state cuts in education funding are depriving students of the “sound basic education” that they are entitled to under the New York Constitution.
Jamestown’s involvement with the lawsuit – sometimes called the “Small Cities” case – has spanned nearly eight years with the lawsuit serving as the culmination of its effort bring more school aid into the district from Albany.
The seven other small cities districts joining Jamestown in the lawsuit are Utica, Poughkeepsie, Mount Vernon, Kingston, Newburgh, Port Jervis and Niagara Falls.
The eight districts believe they deserve a more equitable distribution of state aid to fund daily operations. They would like to see a restoration in state aid totaling $255 million annually, to help offset the state’s freezing of funding under the New York Foundation Aid Formula several years ago.