SYRACUSE, N.Y. May 10, 2012 - NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi will join hundreds of educators, parents and students from across Central New York at a rally Friday in support of the state's public education system, which has been devastated by consecutive years of deep budget cuts that have resulted in the loss of vital academic programs and tens of thousands of teaching and school-related jobs.
Iannuzzi will speak at the rally, starting at 5 p.m. outside the State Office Building, 333 East Washington St. Also participating will be the Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action, Parents for Public Schools, former U.S. Rep. Daniel Maffei and former Assemblyman Al Stirpe.
In addition to calling for an increase in state funding for schools, demonstrators will draw attention to the fiscal constraints and further loss of jobs that districts statewide will face again this year due to the state's new tax cap. That message is especially crucial as the public gets set to go to the polls Tuesday to vote on their respective school budgets.
Advocates will also call for reforming the state's flawed standardized testing system, push back against attacks on teachers and demand the closure of corporate loopholes so that more revenue is made available to fund public education.
Between 2009-20011, schools statewide sustained more than $3 billion in state aid cuts. Although school funding this year was raised more than $800 million, that increase does not come close to offsetting the overall reductions of the last few years. More than 30,000 education jobs have already been slashed statewide as a result of aid cuts, and when coupled with the adverse impact on revenues due to the tax cap, districts this year are again facing more job cuts. In Central New York alone, there are 494.5 positions slated for elimination.
The prolonged cuts in school funding have also resulted in the elimination of important academic programs - at a time when students are being asked to meet continually higher standards - as well as increased class sizes; the discontinuation of arts programs; extracurricular activities and interscholastic sports; and a reduction in busing services.
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.