Jordan-Elbridge's combined wealth ratio -- a measure of property wealth per pupil and income tax -- is the second lowest in the county, behind the city of Syracuse, Dominick said. However, the district's tax rate is in the top third. The consortium's proposal is therefore focused on financing schools primarily by property taxes. The proposal calls for a uniform local effort of $13 per $1,000 of property value. Dominick said there are low property tax rates in Long Island but many more dollars upon which to levy tax. Her son lives in Skaneateles, which has half the tax rate of Elbridge even though it is a wealthier community.
"No one has yet been able to land a genuine blow on the chin of the plan itself," said Larry Cummings, a consortium founder. "This is not really about money. It's about power. There are nine Republican State Senators from Long Island. Most of the districts there are well above the state average in wealth, and any reform plan, unless it's ridiculously expensive, will not provide more aid to those districts."
Cummings said that the Republicans, who hold a slim majority, are afraid they might lose control of the Senate if they agree to a plan that doesn't help Long Island.
Sol Stern, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and author of the book "Breaking Free: Public School Lessons and the Imperative of School Choice" is a vehement opponent of the CFE case win.
A policy issue
Stern, who feels the argument is a policy issue and not up to the courts decide, said the CFE case diverted the attention of people to the real problems with the New York City public education system. Stern, in his book, points blame at the curricula of teachers' colleges for failing to produce adequate teachers, the civil rights movement for giving too many rights to children and relinquishing discipline, and teachers unions for blocking reforms.