$1.7M FOR WITNESSES, LAWYERS IN MAISTO—Capital’s Jessica Bakeman: “The Cuomo administration is spending nearly $1 million for expert witnesses and another $700,000 for contracted private attorneys in a case the state is fighting to avoid spending more money on schools. The highest paid witness for the state in Maisto v. New York will receive $208,500, and the taxpayers’ total bill for the expert testimony is $966,950, according to a Capital analysis of state records. The state is also contracted to pay $700,320 to a private firm for the services of attorneys who have expertise in school funding cases.
“In the lawsuit, filed in 2008, eight small city districts allege the state is underfunding schools and therefore not fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide students with a “sound, basic education.” … Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office is defending the state against the lawsuit. Argued in State Supreme Court in Albany before Judge Kimberly O’Connor, the eight-week trial concluded earlier this month; attorneys for the plaintiffs said they expect a judgment in the fall. The decision will likely be appealed.
“In testimony reports submitted by the state’s expert witnesses, including former New York superintendents, they refute arguments the eight districts lack the resources to meet the constitutional obligation. Students’ poor performance in those districts is a result of teaching and leadership quality, not funding, they contend. Lawmakers, school district leaders, teachers’ unions, education advocates and the plaintiffs’ attorneys criticized the Cuomo administration for spending on expert witnesses and lawyers rather than increasing funding to schools.” http://capi.tl/1FNOdtZ
Spending $1.7 million to keep from having to spend more money on schools.
That's our "student lobbyist" in Albany, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, in action.