ALBANY, NY May 12, 2010 - NYSUT today launched a statewide radio and Internet campaign reminding New Yorkers to support their local schools by voting on district school budgets May 18.
With more than a billion dollars in proposed cuts to state education aid, school districts across New York are facing their darkest days in recent memory. Up to 20,000 education jobs may be lost due to the state's fiscal crisis, and essential academic programs including tutoring, enrichment, and summer school face elimination. Class sizes are at risk of skyrocketing and interscholastic sports are on the chopping block, too.
Statewide, the proposed average increase in spending by school districts is 1.1 percent, according to NYSUT's research. Half the districts are proposing spending increases of below 1.1 percent, and nearly a third are cutting spending below 2009-2010 levels. Due to proposed cuts in state aid, the average proposed tax-levy increase is 2.9 percent.
"Our communities play a vital role in assuring that all of our children receive every opportunity to succeed," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "Time and again, the public has turned out at the polls and shown overwhelming support for their local schools, and we urge everyone to make their voice heard again on May 18."
Despite last year's record budget-passage rate of 97 percent, NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta said local union members are taking nothing for granted, and are mailing post cards and making phone calls to urge the public to turn out at the polls.
"It is important that we invest in our children, especially during these difficult times," Pallotta said. "It is education that provides the best hope for success and a strong public school system is key to helping our state through these challenging economic times, and in securing its future."
The NYSUT ads will feature a "60 Minutes"-type stopwatch ticking in the background as an announcer says, "Give me 60 seconds and I'll tell you how you can help turn things around in New York state… We need an educated, skilled work force to get our economy back on track. But first we have to invest in our children and our public schools." The complete ad can be found at www.nysut.org
The campaign, on which NYSUT spent $260,000, will be heard in all radio markets outside of New York City.
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