ALBANY, N.Y. May 19, 2010 - New York State United Teachers today said an estimated 92 percent "pass rate" on school budgets signals that even in tough economic times, New Yorkers support public education and want to spare students from even more harmful cuts.
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said preliminary results from Tuesday's statewide school budget voting demonstrates that voters clearly understand the importance of investing in their public schools. "We appreciate voters' steadfast support of schools, especially given the state's fiscal situation. The governor's proposed budget would cut essential services to students and, at the same time, unfairly burden local taxpayers," Iannuzzi said. "It's wrong for local taxpayers to have to increasingly shoulder the responsibility that rests with the state. It is clear that voters want quality public schools, and state can and should reverse what would be devastating cuts to education."
Voters in 535 school districts approved budgets Tuesday night, with 48 budgets going down in defeat, according to a preliminary count by NYSUT. Results for several dozen districts could not be obtained. A final tabulation should be available by mid-afternoon.
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta said the budget voting underscores why NYSUT is joining with the Alliance for Quality Education in the "For Our kids" campaign to press for restoration of $1.4 billion in education cuts. "As a result of the state's failure to act, local communities are struggling to keep their commitment to provide quality public schools," he said. "The state needs to do its fair share and stop passing along the pain to students and local taxpayers. Our kids deserve better. Our parent/teacher coalition is putting feet on the street to spread the word about those senators who failed to vote for the state support their communities need. We're reminding those senators that they still have time to do the right thing and stave off the havoc the governor's cuts will cause."
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.