ALBANY, N.Y. June 9, 2010 - New York State United Teachers today urged the state Legislature to stand up for students and taxpayers by pushing for significant restorations of education aid in state budget negotiations.
The drastic $1.4 billion cut in education funding proposed by Gov. Paterson would devastate the state's public school system, resulting in the elimination of vital academic programs, increased class sizes and the loss of thousands of teaching and school-related jobs statewide.
"Polls have shown the vast majority of New Yorkers believe the state must maintain its investment in public education," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "Now, we urge the state Legislature to represent the interests of parents and local taxpayers by ensuring schools have the necessary funding so that all students have the same opportunity to succeed."
Just three weeks ago, voters statewide approved 92 percent of school district budgets, defying predictions of sweeping defeats. This year's results, in fact, marked the fourth straight year that New York voters approved more than 90 percent of the school budgets proposed. Turnout this year also was the highest since 2005, with 985,000 voters going to the polls - up 34 percent from May 2009.
Andrew Pallotta, NYSUT's executive vice president, said the statewide union takes very seriously New York's fiscal challenges. But, he said the state cannot rebuild its economy by dismantling its education system and shifting more financial burden upon taxpayers.
"Our students and local taxpayers should not bear the brunt of the state's budget problems," Pallotta said. "They deserve more and the state Legislature still has time to do what's right and stave off the havoc the governor's cuts would cause."
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