ALBANY, N.Y. September 9, 2011 – New York State United Teachers today praised President Obama's jobs plan, saying a new federal investment in school construction and education job creation would help lower class size and put more teachers in the state's classrooms helping students to learn.
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said, however, Obama's American Jobs Act would only reach its full job-creation potential if New York maintained its planned increases in school funding.
"President Obama's American Jobs Act is a shot in the arm to school districts and communities suffering from massive state budget cuts and a brutal property tax cap," Iannuzzi said. "If it passes, states will able to restore positions eliminated because of massive state aid cuts and create new positions that will put teacher back to work. Our congressional delegation must work to pass this bill ASAP – and we must fight to ensure that our state leaders maintain state aid and not merely cut it by an amount equivalent to the new federal aid."
State support for public education has been slashed by about $3.2 billion over the last three years, although the full impact of those cuts were somewhat mitigated by federal stimulus dollars and an earlier education jobs bill. Still, the state's nearly 700 school districts, facing a $1.3 billion cut, eliminated nearly 11,700 teaching and staff positions for this current 2011-2012 school year, with more than 7,700 actual "pink slips" handed to teachers and support staff.
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.