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Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. v State
of New York

Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. v State of New York 2006 NY Slip Op 08630 [8 NY3d 14]
November 20, 2006 Pigott, J. Court of Appeals Published by New York State Law Reporting
Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431. As corrected through Wednesday, January 31, 2007
[*1] Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc., et al., Appellants-Respondents,
State of New York et al., Respondents-Appellants.
Argued October 10, 2006; decided November 20, 2006
Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. v State of New York, 29 AD3d 175, modified.
Pigott, J.
In this third appeal by plaintiffs Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. (CFE), et al., we address the
cost of providing children in New York City's public schools with a sound basic education. The
State estimated this cost to include a minimum of $1.93 billion, in 2004 dollars, in additional
annual operating funds.{**8 NY3d at 20} We conclude that this estimate was a reasonable one
and that the courts should defer to this estimate, appropriately updated. I. [*2]
More than a decade ago, we held that the Education Article of the New York State Constitution
requires the State "to offer all children the opportunity of a sound basic education" (Campaign
for Fiscal Equity v State of New York, 86 NY2d 307, 316 [1995] [CFE I]). Plaintiffs had sought a
declaratory judgment against the State, claiming that students in New York City public schools
were not receiving a basic education and that the State's public school financing system was
Mindful of the fundamental value of education in our democratic society, we agreed with
plaintiffs' interpretation of the Education Article. The State must ensure that New York's public
schools are able to teach "the basic literacy, calculating, and verbal skills necessary to enable
children to eventually function productively as civic participants capable of voting and serving

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