ALBANY, N.Y. March 21, 2011 - More than 2,000 educators will rally at the state Capitol Tuesday, the latest in a string of protests against a proposed executive budget that slashes $1.5 billion from public schools while providing tax breaks to the wealthy, New York State United Teachers said.
The noon-time demonstration in West Capitol Park follows more than a dozen similar rallies over the last 10 days across the state. The events drew more than 12,000 New Yorkers concerned about the impact the cuts would have on programs that help students.
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said restorations planned by the Assembly and Senate are a step in the right direction, but more must be done. "Education restorations in both plans would take steps toward repairing the horrific cuts in fundamental programs for students. Our work now, as we partner with parents and community leaders, is to convince our elected leaders: we owe it to our children to do more. The outpouring of support for education in rallies across the state is part of that effort."
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta said that while the proposed school aid restorations could save positions, "Our schools would still be facing a devastating loss of more than 10,000 teachers and school staff" on top of last year's elimination of 10,000 positions. "That would translate directly into wholesale losses for students of pre-school, foreign language programs, AP classes, counseling, music, art, athletics and more," Pallotta said.
"Equally unthinkable," Pallotta said, "is the situation confronting SUNY and CUNY where applications are soaring and yet their budgets still face draconian cuts. These cuts would exacerbate already painful trends toward crowded classes, diminished access and delayed graduation for students."
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.