NYS BUDGET BATTLE: The New York State United Teachers Vow To Keep Fighting For State Funding On Behalf Of Schools & Colleges/Major Rally To Be Held In Albany Wednesday To Continue Fight For More Education Funding
(ALBANY) – The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) vowed today to continue fighting for budget restorations, saying New York State’s brightening fiscal picture - and widespread public support for more education funding - support pressing State Leaders to restore investment in Public Education in order to preserve valuable school programs.
A major rally described as "People Power in Albany to Stop the Worst State Budget Cuts," is scheduled to take place in Albany as advocates for education push for more State Funding for Schools, Public Colleges and Human Services Programs. A number of groups, including Organized Labor, reportedly plan on protesting throughout the Capitol, as well as in the Senate and Assembly galleries. NYSUT, the State’s largest Union, represents more than 600,000 Teachers, School-Related Professionals, Academic and Professional Faculty in Higher Education, Professionals in Education and Health Care and Retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.
NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi acknowledged the
Legislature’s restorations as “positive steps,” but said they fall far short of
what’s needed to avoid devastating program cuts to public schools, community
colleges and SUNY and CUNY campuses.
Iannuzzi noted the most recent Siena Research Institute poll shows strong
opposition to education cuts and broad support among all demographic groups for
even larger restorations to the education budget.
“While we will continue to seek further relief at the State level through restorations and added revenues, we must redouble our efforts to be sure that as great a portion of these cuts as possible be absorbed outside the classroom,” Iannuzzi said.
“When all is said and done,” he
continued, “efficiencies alone, however, are unlikely to avoid a devastatingly
negative impact on kids and programs.”
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta said the Union would continue to fight for continuation of the income tax surcharge on the wealthiest New Yorkers. The Siena Research Institute poll also showed 71% of New Yorkers support asking millionaires to share the pain and help alleviate the worst of the budget’s cuts.
“Despite all the rhetoric about valuing education, choices had to be made in this budget and the choice was to protect millionaires at the expense of teachers and students,” Pallotta said. “Students who are struggling will not be getting the extra support they need. Class sizes will grow. Schools are closing. And high school juniors and seniors applying to colleges are losing opportunities in the arts, music and sports.”
Early reports indicate the budget may make some vitally needed restorations to community colleges and SUNY hospitals. But, the Union said, cuts that remain “have us deeply concerned about the ability of SUNY hospitals to sustain services and remain solvent and the capacity of community colleges to maintain academic programs as enrollment skyrockets. “Additionally, we’re deeply concerned that this budget appears to prevent CUNY from spending more than forty-million dollars already collected in student tuition revenue to benefit its own students. We will never give up fighting on behalf of the hard-working Teachers, School Staff and Higher Education Faculty, and the more than three million New York students they serve,” Union Representatives said.