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Settlement Near in School Funding Dispute

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – A settlement may be near in a lawsuit over how the state funds its public schools. An official of the group which brought the suit says settlement talks are "serious."

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity filed suit seven years ago, seeking billions of dollars more for New York City schools and other high-need, low performing schools statewide.

A lower court agreed the state's education funding formula is broken, but the ruling was later overturned by an appellate court. Now the Campaign has until December 2nd to work on a settlement or appeal to the state's highest court.

Campaign for Fiscal Equity Director Michael Rebell says he's had some serious conversations with Governor Pataki's office in recent days. Rebell says he's not pushing for a specific number, knowing the state faces up to a $10 billion deficit in the coming year.

He says a detailed study will begin in January to determine just how much money will be needed to provide a sound education in all schools statewide.