The Campaign for Fiscal Equity Case: Should the Legislature Ignore Justice DeGrasse?

Harvard Club, New York City

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In order to improve New York City’s schools, Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse is ordering New York State to massively increase funding for the school system: $5.6 billion annually, plus another $9.2 billion for capital expenditures.

But is Justice DeGrasse’s remedy really the last word in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case? Our panelists discussed why the Legislature is constitutionally free to consider other approaches. Law professor David Schoenbrod showed why historical precedent allows New York State legislators to reach their own conclusions about how to fulfill their constitutional duty to provide New York City’s children with a sound education. Our other panelists explored some of the items the Legislature could include in an alternative remedy: changes to the teacher union’s work rules, initiating merit pay for teachers, and encouraging charter school formation and growth.

* Anthony Coles, of Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, LLP, former Deputy Mayor of New York City.

* David Schoenbrod, Law Professor at New York Law School and co-author of Democracy by Decree.

* William Phillips, president of the New York Charter School Association.

* Jay Greene, (invited) senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and director of the Institute’s Education Research Office.

* E.J. McMahon, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and director of the Institute’s Empire Center for New York State Policy, will serve as moderator for the discussion. 

Full transcript in PDF format