September 19, 2016, Albany, New York

Education Law Center, as attorneys on the legal team representing the school children in New York’s Small Cities school districts, released the following statement on Judge Kimberly O’Connor’s decision issued today in Maisto v. State of New York:

“The Court explicitly found that the performance of children in these school districts is undeniably inadequate.  This finding was supported by compelling and unrefuted evidence in the record.  For example, the high school graduation rate in Mount Vernon stands at 48%.

The Court, however, failed to make findings as to whether the school districts lack essential resources (inputs) and whether the lack of state funding is a cause of the ‘undeniably inadequate’ results for the children.  Had the Court made findings on these core elements of the case, it would have found that essential resources in the Small Cities districts are severely deficient and the lack of state funding was a major cause of the unacceptably low student outcomes.  For example, the budget cuts to funding triggered a 30% reduction of staff in the Mount Vernon schools. The link between those cuts and the 48% reduction was obvious and was not seriously challenged by the state.

The tragic effect of this decision is that the children in these districts will continue to suffer even longer as the Plaintiffs pursue an appeal which we are confident will be successful.  But that success will come too late for the vast majority of students who will go through life without the benefit of their constitutional right to a sound basic education.”

The Plaintiff school children in the Maisto case are represented pro bono by David G. Sciarra and Wendy Lecker of Education Law Center; William Reynolds of Nixon Peabody in Albany; Gregory Little of White & Case in New York City; Robert Biggerstaff of the Biggerstaff law firm in Albany; and Richard Casagrande, General Counsel, and Megan Mercy, Associate Counsel, NY State United Teachers in Albany.  


Press Contact:

Sharon Krengel
Policy and Outreach Director
973-624-1815, x 24



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Press Contact:
Sharon Krengel
Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Communications
973-624-1815, x240