FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2013
New York City Public School Parents File Lawsuit Against Governor Cuomo and Education Commissioner King For Punishing Public School Students
Today, New York City parents, represented by attorney Michael Rebell, filed a lawsuit against Governor Andrew Cuomo and Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. for unconstitutionally withholding $250 million in education funding. The loss of funding is the penalty imposed by Governor Cuomo for the failure of Michael Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers to reach an agreement on teacher evaluations.
Michael Rebell, the attorney for the parents who is known for his successful work with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), said, “I am outraged that New York City students are being victimized as pawns in a power struggle between the ‘grown-ups’. I think this is a clear violation of the CFE decisions, as well as the due process and equal protection guarantees of the New York State constitution. We have requested that the law allowing the State to impose this $250 million penalty on our children be declared unconstitutional and invalid, and we are seeking a quick ruling and a preliminary injunction to make that happen.”
“The $250 million was part of the school funding formula that was determined to be NEEDED by New York City to try to educate students. There are no ‘backsies’ in State funding; we need that money now,” said Sam Pirozzolo, a plaintiff, public school parent and President of Community Education Council 31 in Staten Island.
“Our schools are already underfunded. Losing $250 million will result in cuts to school programs and academic intervention services for our children. I don’t understand how Governor Cuomo and Commissioner King could punish our innocent children and deny us the sorely needed funds for our schools,” said Jacqueline Colson, a plaintiff, public school parent and member of Community Education Council 25 in Queens.
Chris Owens, a plaintiff and public school parent from Brooklyn said “Government has to use common sense and be held accountable for that. You fail the common sense test when you penalize children for the failures of adults, and we seem to be on the brink of doing that once again.”
“Punishing children by withholding $250 million dollars is unconstitutional and a violation of our children’s rights. Governor Cuomo and Education Commissioner King should have had a default evaluation system for all districts in case the unions and districts failed to reach agreement,” said Mona Davids, a plaintiff, public school parent and President of the New York City Parents Union. ”Parents are sick and tired of adults posturing instead of putting children’s education first”.
For more information on the lawsuit or to download the complaint, go to www.nycparentsunion.org