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An “F” In Finances: At Least One Long Island School District Faces Failing The Finance War

Submitted by MiaB

When we think of Long Island, it’s hard to think about impoverished communities and children that can’t afford necessities such as schooling. But, the reality is that certain towns such as Brentwood, four out of every five students are poor enough to qualify for educational aid, primarily discounted school lunches.

But, unfortunately, unlike some similar inner-city kids, the children of Brentwood should not look forward to the same treatment, opportunities, or assistance. In fact the town even lost a court battle against the state (for additional assistance) over a decade ago. And, this resulted in bitter feelings. Yet, Brentwood is host to 16, 600 students, but receives only half the amount spent in Gold coast communities.

And community officials say they are shocked that well-to-do children get double what’s offered or given to poor kids. And, they note the added disappointment in advocates not being able to win more money in their legal efforts.

The lawsuit filed in 1993 stipulated that schools were substandard with thousand of uncertified teachers.

However, the Court of Appeals sided with the plaintiffs, a civic action group, referred to as the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and awarded city schools an additional $1.03 billion annually.

On the other hand, a lawsuit filed in 1991 by Brentwood and 20 other suburban school districts, were NOT classified as below par.

Instead, an “organization” known as Reform Educational Financing Inequities tried to build a cased founded on economic unfairness, suggesting that they were significantly outspent by wealthier districts.

Yet, the Court of Appeals remained unmoved and in 1995 the state’s highest court ruled that spending differences did not reflect that Brentwood students has been denied a “sound, basic” education.

Yet, Brentwood continues to find itself in financial dire straits and while some schools “did” undergo recent renovation, others haven’t has any work done in 40 years.

As a means of financing repairs and upgrades, the district is urging residents to approve a $100 million bond issue on December 12; and the City’s lawsuit may have indirectly helped the town to get the borrowing approved.

State lawmakers took a stand in response to the lawsuit last spring, and authorized billions of dollars in statewide school construction, a move, they suggest should help Brentwood, and others to finance repairs at virtually no local cost.

Money News > An “F” In Finances: At Least One Long Island School District Faces Failing The Finance War

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