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The New York State United Teachers Union Calls On The State To Make A “Greater Investment” In Public Higher Education

NYSUT President Karen Magee: New York “Should Provide The Investment Necessary To Assure The Quality, Accessible And Affordable College Education Students Today Need To Succeed."

Published Tuesday, February 9, 2016
by NYSUT Media Relations

(ALBANY, NEW YORK) – On Monday (February 8th), the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) Union reminded state lawmakers that a "college degree is ‘no longer just an option,’ but rather a ‘prerequisite’ in many industries."

As such, the state's Public University Systems require an investment greater than that proposed in the executive budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

NYSUT represents nearly 80,000 Academic and Professional Faculty at the city and state university systems and at nearly all of the state's community colleges.

"Support for public higher education ‘is support’ for New York's future," NYSUT President Karen Magee said. "The state ‘should provide’ the investment ‘necessary to assure’ the quality, accessible and affordable college education students today ‘need to succeed.’"

Testifying before a joint legislative hearing on the 2016-17 higher education budget, NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta said: "Students are funding most of the increases in SUNY's (State Universities at New York) and CUNY's (City University at New York) budgets through annual tuition hikes.  Annual tuition increases were ‘supposed to be’ invested in student academic programs, services and faculty.  However, much of that funding is (now) going to pay for mandatory costs that ‘aren't covered’ by the current statutory definition of the state's maintenance of effort."

As he did at a press conference earlier in the day with other Union Leaders and legislators, Pallotta called on the Legislature to amend the maintenance of effort definition to include mandatory costs such as energy and other basic operations.

The Legislature passed a NYSUT-backed MOE bill last year, but it was vetoed with a message that the issue should be negotiated as part of the budget process.

Pallotta also stressed the need for lawmakers to: Increase base aid for community colleges by $250 per full-time equivalent student; Reject Pay-for-Performance Programs; Create an endowment fund to hire much-needed Full-Time Faculty and Staff; Fully fund SUNY's teaching and research hospitals; Address Teacher preparation, diversity and recruitment programs; Restore funding cuts to student opportunity programs; and enact the DREAM Act.

Frederick Kowal, who serves as President of United University Professions (SUNY), and Barbara Bowen, who serves as President of the Professional Staff Congress (CUNY), joined Pallotta at the hearing.

NYSUT represents more than 600,000 Members across New York State in Education, Human Services and Health Care and is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA) and the AFL-CIO.

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