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Lawsuit: Not All New York Students Get a ‘Sound, Basic’ Education

Dr. Rick Timbs
(Photo by Bill Keeler)

A lawsuit filed by a group called New Yorkers for Students’ Education Rights (NYSER) charges that New York State violates its constitution when it fails to provide a ‘sound and basic’ public education for all students in the state.  The suit was filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Tuesday.

The claim by attorney Michael A. Rebell, who successfully brought the Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York case before the courts, charges that some students get a ‘sound and basic education’ while others don’t.  Particularly, medium to lower wealth school districts like many here in the greater Utica area are unable to provide a ‘sound and basic’ education, according to details of the suit.

He alleges that (among other things):

• Classrooms are increasingly swelling with students, at a time when state standards dictate the need for more individualized attention and support

• Tutoring and other programs for students who are suffering academically and/or struggling to meet state standards aren’t being offered because schools cannot afford them

• Art, music and other extracurricular activities have been cut back or eliminated entirely, along with college and career guidance supports, to the detriment of students

Rebell is joined by 15 parents across the state and the Syracuse based, Statewide Schools Finance Consortium which is headed by Dr. Rick Timbs of New Hartford.

“It is unfortunate another lawsuit is needed, but we are left with no choice. The fact of the matter is our state government has been unwilling or unable to honor its responsibility to students for years now,’’ said Dr. Rick Timbs, SSFC’s Executive Director.

Timbs appeared on First News with Keeler in the Morning on Tuesday on WIBX in reaction to the State Education Department’s decision to scale back the common core standards and processes.  Listen to portions of that broadcast: 

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“NYSER’s goals are the same as SSFC’s goals: to secure fair, equitable, adequate and sustainable funding for schools.  We must secure much-needed reforms to the state’s system and formula for financing schools to best meet students’ educational needs,’’ Dr. Timbs added. "“The fact of the matter is our state government has been unwilling or unable to honor its responsibility to students for years now.” – Dr. Rick Timbs"

Additional details of the lawsuit are available at the NYSER website.

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