Ta-da! In a huge boost for public school school kids in NYC, a panel ruled that the city deserves $5.6 billion more a year in funding. The NY State Constitution says that children are supposed to get a "sound, basic education," and that the current situation in many NYC schools doesn't allow for that. The NYC school system has 1.1 million children - it's the largest in the country - but it's also one of the most troubled, hampered by soaring demands, a lack of resources, difficult budget allocations from the city (this ruling stems from a lawsuit against the state that the Campaign of Fiscal Equity, which argued for NYC school kids, won three years ago). Another interesting fact from the Daily News: If the recommendation were actually enacted, the city's school budget would rise 40%, with spending per kid at about $18,000, an average typical in the suburbs. And on top of that, $9.2 billion worth of new facilities (classrooms, libraries, labs) needed to be created as well!

Here's a PDF of the panel's recommendations. Now, the fight about who supposed to shell out the billions, because the last time anyone looked, no one had $5.6 billion, let alone $1 billion laying around. The city has a $3 billion defict, and the state's deficit is $6 billion. If the city pays, other programs and services will most certainly be cut. If the state pays, NY state taxes would go up. Another NY Times article summarizes the arguments as to why the state or city should pay.

The Daily News has an editorial that is pleased with the recommendation. And the Mayor's plan for extra revenues for the schools, bringing in Snapple as the official drink, hasn't exactly worked out.