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Groups to rally at Capitol for more school funding


Up to 1,000 people, including the president of New York’s NAACP, Hazel Dukes, will hold a rally at the Capitol today to try to convince state  lawmakers to fulfill a 2006 court order to spend billions more dollars on New York’s schools each year.

The groups say to fulfill the court order, schools need an addition $6 billion a year, with a greater share going to the poorest schools

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has often said he doesn’t think spending more money on schools is the answer, and he recently derided requests for more school funding from the New York State Board of Regents as political correctness.

“That’s Albany politically correct, I want $17 billion for everything,” Cuomo said in mid-December.

Billy Easton, with the Alliance for Quality Education, which helped organize the event, takes umbrage at that.

“That’s kind of disrespectful to students,” Easton said. “It’s out of touch with what’s going on in our schools.”

Cuomo has also criticized the teachers union over performance reviews, and said he wants to break the "public school monopoly." Easton says Cuomo is waging a war on public education.

Easton says the groups will work on state legislators to urge a four year phase in of the school funding to fulfill the court ruling. They say the inequity of the state’s school funding system has become a civil rights issue.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.