Gov. Pataki visits The Bronx to discuss funds coming to improve city schools

(04/10/04) SOUNDVIEW - Members of a student's advocacy Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) filed a lawsuit more than a decade ago claiming students in the state were not being given the proper resources to learn. The group members won the suit, and now millions of dollars are coming to Bronx schools. New York Governor George Pataki visited The Bronx on Saturday to discuss the distribution of billions of dollars for city schools as a result of the lawsuit.

So far, the governor and Mayor Bloomberg have not reached an agreement on how much The Bronx and the rest of the city will get. Though CFE members won the suit, the judge never said exactly how much had to be given to the city. The mayor wants more than $5 billion in the next few years. It was left up to the governor and the New York State Legislature to work out a compromise.

The governor created a committee to determine the amount city school officials needed. The committee members recently released their findings, saying city leaders should get between $2.5 and 5.6 billion over the next five years. Lawmakers were told to agree on an exact figure. Mayor Bloomberg says the city especially needs the funds to fix the problem of overcrowding in city schools. He also says city school officials need the money for the recruitment and training of teachers, special education, and English language learning programs.

Lawmakers have until July 31 to figure out a solution. If they cannot reach a decision, the matter goes back to court. Campaign for Fiscal Equity members wanted much more than the maximum $5.6 billion that Pataki's committee proposed. They want city schools to get almost $10 billion over the next few years.

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