NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta, speaking just yards from the state Capitol as part of a statewide "Day of Action," drew on his experience as a New York City teacher during past fiscal crises to describe what would happen if the governor's proposal to cut $1.4 billion from education aid. He told reporters he remembered classes of "41 students, without enough chairs for everyone. Students sat on window sills and radiators," he said.
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"The words 'pain' and 'devastating' are used to describe this budget. Those words are accurate," Pallotta said, noting that parents and others, while concerned about property taxes and rising costs, are most worried about "how we are going to prepare students for a better tomorrow."
Superintendent Raymond Colucciello said the Albany City School district, after laying off 113 teachers and staff last year, is looking at more than 100 job cuts this year - and that's just to close half of the district's $20 million budget shortfall. He said cuts are so deep, the district - even as it works to reduce the impact on the classroom - will likely be eliminating art, music, remedial services and "anything that is not mandated," including physics and, possibly, kindergarten. "If these cuts are not reversed," he said, "you will see a very different school district next year."