The Cuomo Administration has finally released $69 million in two-year improvement grant funds designated for 20 high poverty schools across the state, as required by a March 23 order issued by a New York Appellate Court. For a list of the 20 schools and grant amounts, click here.
A year ago, after only one year of implementation, the grant funds were impounded by the State Division of Budget (DOB) Director, Robert Mujica, at the direction of Governor Cuomo. Parents from several of the schools sued, claiming DOB had no legal authority to withhold the funds. Education Law Center represents the plaintiff parents in the lawsuit, Cortes v. Mujica.
In December, Albany State Supreme Court Judge Kimberly O’Connor ruled that the DOB exceeded its authority in freezing the funds, and she ordered the funds be released immediately. When Governor Cuomo appealed Judge O’Connor’s ruling, the order to release the funds was automatically put on hold. ELC, on behalf of the parents, asked the Appellate Court to lift the hold, which the Court did on March 23.
“The academic and social support services provided by these grants in the first year of implementation made a real difference for some of New York State’s most vulnerable students. Unfortunately, DOB’s illegal freezing of the funds forced those schools awarded the grant to interrupt services, and students lost an entire year of support.” said Wendy Lecker, ELC Senior Attorney. “We are gratified that Governor Cuomo has decided to comply with the order in time for the schools to reinstate those services in the 2017-18 school-year.”
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