More than 500 local members, parents, students and other supporters from as far north as Oswego, as far south as Cortland, as far east as Utica and as far west as Auburn converged in Syracuse days before the May 15 vote to advocate for public education and to urge residents to vote "yes" on their school budgets.
NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi (above) told the crowd he recognized that voters had a hard choice to make, given that even a "yes" vote could still mean devastating cuts.
"I am here to tell you that NYSUT will take every step necessary to challenge this tax cap that will widen inequality and the resources gap that currently exists," he said to wild applause.
Spanish teacher Kari Egerbrecht was among the 50 Syracuse Teachers Association members who made signs to display at the rally.
"With all the pressure our kids have been under, and with our schools under attack, it's important for me to be there, to stand up and tell people that funding education matters," she said.
Susan Fahey, president of Parents for Public Schools, told the crowd that while some lawmakers appoint themselves lobbyists for students, "there have always been two constants: parents and teachers — the parents who want the best for their child's education and the teachers who work to provide it."
For more photos and video of the Syracuse rally, visit blogs.nysut.org.