State Appeals Court Rules Against UFT on Class Size

By Ben Fractenberg on July 28, 2011 7:11pm 

A state appeals court ruled against a lawsuit brought by the United Federation of Teachers saying the city mismanaged funds meant to reduce class size.
A state appeals court ruled against a lawsuit brought by the United Federation of Teachers saying the city mismanaged funds meant to reduce class size.
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MANHATTAN — A state appeals court threw out a suit brought by the United Federation of Teachers and NAACP alleging the city misused funds allocated specifically to reduce class size.

Justice David Saxe wrote in the 4-0 ruling that the state and not the courts were the proper place to police the class size spending.

"The Legislature’s intent to grant the State Education Department original jurisdiction over claimed failures of compliance with its directives is apparent from the overall legislative scheme,” he wrote in the decision.

The suit called into question how $760 million in state money given to the city to reduce class size was spent. The money was distributed after a 2007 court decision said city children were being denied a decent education. The state legislature then passed a measure granting the additional funding.

“We are pleased with the Court’s ruling as we have continually said that we firmly believed this case was without merit,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott in a statement.  “As evidenced by the State’s approval of our C4E [Contracts for Excellence] class size reduction plan every year the law was in effect, we’ve remained committed to minimizing the growth of class size in all of our schools.”

The UFT will now reportedly go the legislative route in pushing for reduced class size.

“The class size issue is not one that is going to go away,” teacher union president Michael Mulgrew told The New York Times.

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