March 14, 2014

NYSUT condemns Senate budget bill

Source: NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. March 14, 2014 – New York State United Teachers today condemned members of the Senate Republicans and Independent Democratic Conference who are backing a budget bill that includes a back-door voucher scheme that provides tax credits to wealthy donors and favors privately operated and unaccountable charter schools over the state’s public education system.

“This is nothing short of a fundamental and disgraceful attack on the children of New York’s public education system,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. “The senators supporting this budget bill, both Republicans and members of the Independent Democratic Conference, have chosen their benefactors, hedge funders and financiers over the 97 percent of New York’s children who attend underfunded public schools. At a time when our schools have slashed art, music, foreign languages and other programs and laid off 30,000 educators, the Senate position is unconscionable and speaks volumes about their priorities.”

NYSUT strongly opposes providing tax credits to wealthy individuals who donate to private and religious schools — a proposal that would siphon $250 million from the state. And, the union slammed the Senate for seeking new funding for charter facilities and forcing co-locations of charters in public schools, despite audits and other documents showing the charter industry awash in taxpayer cash.

The union said the proposal, coming as schools struggle under an undemocratic tax cap, the Gap Elimination Adjustment and less overall state aid than in 2009-10, shows the Senate Majority and IDC are out of touch with what’s happening in their own communities.

“Those backing this bill are choosing donors over children and private and religious schools over public schools. There is no justification — no acceptable excuse — for putting forward a bill that provides $250 million in tax credits to wealthy benefactors and just a $217 million added increase for public schools,” said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta. “We will hold elected officials accountable for not adequately funding public schools that serve all children.”

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

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