Jamestown,Niagara Falls appeal state-aid case

ALBANY – A group of small city schools, including Jamestown and Niagara Falls, filed an appeal this week to a court decision last month that rejected the cities’ claims that New York isn’t providing enough aid to the struggling schools.

The groups representing the schools said Wednesday it filed the appeal in state court after the Sept. 19 ruling rejected their arguments.

The trial was held in spring 2015, and the eight small-city schools contended the state hasn't provided enough aid for "a constitutional sound basic education."

"If the Maisto decision is allowed to stand, 30 years of court precedent will be reversed," The Education Law Center and the state Association of Small City School Districts, who are representing the districts, said in a statement.

Jamestown, Kingston, Mount Vernon, Newburgh, Niagara Falls, Port Jervis, Poughkeepsie and Utica are the city schools in the lawsuit.

The districts in total have about 55,000 students and 330,000 residents.

The case is predicated on a landmark state Court of Appeals ruling in 2007 that ordered the state to provide more aid to New York City schools.

The small cities said the ruling should also apply to them, but acting Supreme Court Justice Kimberly O'Connor disagreed, saying state aid increases since 2006 were “reasonable.”

New York spends 87 percent above the national average on its schools, federal data has shown.

But the state also operates under a flawed distribution system with an antiquated funding formula, a review in August by the Albany Bureau for the USA Today Network found.



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