Cynthia Nixon Comes Downtown to Pitch $7.3 Billion Plan for Schools

After delivering her campaign speech on education, Cynthia Nixon is greeted by supporters outside of BMCC. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Jun. 15, 2018

Gubernatorial candidate and actress Cynthia Nixon came to Borough of Manhattan Community College in Tribeca on Wednesday to announce her plan to pour more than $7 billion into the state’s schools, paid for with higher taxes on the wealthy.

In a room crowded to capacity with supporters and press, the former “Sex and the City” star repeatedly interjected chants of “Schools not jails” into her 30-minute campaign speech. An infusion of funds into predominantly black and Latino school districts, she maintained, would narrow the achievement gap for those students and slash their rates of incarceration.

Nixon, whose polling numbers widely trail Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s in her bid for the Democratic nomination, called for an additional $4.2 billion to “fully fund every school in every zip code.” She would spend another $800 million annually on free tuition for 170,000 more students at City University of New York and State University of New York schools.

“We must make college a basic right for every New Yorker,” she said.

Nixon also promised that as governor she would add 500 new community schools—centers that provide social services as well as teaching. And with another $50 million she would give students more counselors and other emotional support services and remove what she calls “over policing” in some schools. Suspensions for children up to the 3rd grade would end, under her plan.

“My Education New York initiative will cost 7.3 billion. That sounds expensive,” Nixon said. “You know what, it is and it should be.”

To pay for these and other programs aimed at giving children in poor neighborhoods a more equal footing in the state's schools, she would raise taxes on the highest earning New Yorkers, starting with families making $300,000 a year, and raise the corporate tax rate.

“We have some of the wealthiest people and corporations in the entire world here,” Nixon said. “Twenty percent of America’s billionaires call New York home.”

The candidate declined to take reporters’ questions about her proposals.

In a statement, Cuomo spokesman Dani Lever defended the governor’s record on education, saying funding has increased 36 percent since 2012. “The State has an annual education formula which it has exceeded for the past 7 years, and New York spends more per pupil than any state in the nation – a record‎ $27 billion per year,” she said.