Friday, April 25, 2014

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City Still Plans $250M Education Cuts Despite Injunction

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City officials still plan to slash the education budget by $250 million as part of an ongoing funding battle with the state.

The state planned to take away the money because the city was unable to come to an agreement with the United Federation of Teachers on an evaluation system.

However, education advocates filed a lawsuit against the state, leading to a court injunction that blocked the cuts from happening.

City officials said they're planning ahead so they're not taken by surprise in case the injunction is lifted.

But advocates said the decision to press on as though the money were already lost is illegal,
and they said they will add the city to the lawsuit.

"The judge has said we're likely to win the lawsuit, and the most powerful man in the legislature has said he wants to revoke this penalty," said Michael Rebell, attorney for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. "So whether it's through the courts or through the politics, the overwhelming odds are the money is never going to be withdrawn. So what's the basis for cutting services to kids? That's my question. I don't know why they're doing it, but as long as they say they're doing it, we're going to go into court and try to stop them from doing it."

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has said he'll take action to restore the money, but Governor Andrew Cuomo has vowed not to release the money, saying the city and teachers' union should be punished.

The state will enact an evaluations system if no agreement is reached by June.

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