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Goldwater Demands Answers on NY School District’s $31K ‘Equity’ Splurge

July 27, 2022

Where did the money actually go? That’s a question the Goldwater Institute is asking of New York’s Rye City School District, where officials forked over more than $31,000 to pay a vendor that conducts “equity audits” to tell schools how “unwoke” they are. So far, the school district is refusing to provide answers, so Goldwater’s American Freedom Network (AFN) of pro bono attorneys took legal action today to expose how the school district is spending taxpayer funds.

A group of concerned parents uncovered that in 2020, the district entered into a $31,125 agreement with the New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development for professional services related to the “Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools.” The Goldwater Institute then sought more information about this use of taxpayer resources by submitting a public records request under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) to Rye about NYU Steinhardt’s proposal. In response, the district provided the proposal, but refused to release any communications that led to its decision to spend tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money on a private vendor.

Rye did not release any information about its Race, Inclusivity & Community Task Force, either. For instance, it wouldn’t divulge its process for member selection and approval, or the “Community Norms” developed by the task force, which appear to have been funded as part of the NYU proposal—even though this is all precisely the type of information to which the public records law is intended to apply.

Today, the Government Justice Center’s Cam Macdonald and AFN attorney David Carey, representing Goldwater, filed a petition with the New York Supreme Court for Westchester County to compel Rye to produce these records.

Taxpayers have a right to know what their government is up to, including what’s happening in our nation’s public schools—especially amid continuing calls for increased education funding. But this case is just the latest instance in a concerning nationwide trend where school districts spend large sums of money on “equity audits” and “diversity, equity, and inclusion” activities, often making these decisions behind closed doors without parental consent and involvement.

That’s why Goldwater is working nationwide—with assistance from AFN attorneys—to shine a light on what’s happening in public school districts and how bureaucrats are spending taxpayer money. In Rhode Island, Goldwater attorneys are helping concerned mom Nicole Solas, who was told by her school district that it would cost $74,000 to see her daughter’s kindergarten curriculum. And Goldwater successfully stood up for the First Amendment rights of Debra Tisler and Callie Oettinger, two Virginia moms who were sued by their school district after they posted online legally obtained public records that revealed how much the district was paying in legal bills.

Moreover, Goldwater’s landmark academic transparency reform would empower parents to find out what their children are learning by requiring public school districts to post their learning materials online.

Public school districts are trying to keep parents in the dark. But Goldwater won’t let them get away with it.

If you are interested in putting your legal skills and experience to practice in defense of liberty and would like to work with the Goldwater Institute on cases like this one, please visit this page or contact Kamron Kompani at

Kamron Kompani is the Legal Programs Manager at the Goldwater Institute.



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