The final state budget for 2014-15 is far from perfect, but advocacy by NYSUT members, leaders and staff definitely made a difference in the outcome.
"There's much to be proud of in this budget," said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta. "But this session is far from over and we are working to fix what we can and minimize what we cannot."
The union stopped a back-door voucher scheme; gained $1.5 billion in education aid, including $340 million for universal pre-K; stopped student data from being transmitted to inBloom; secured limits on the use of testing; gained more aid for college students; stopped a hike in retiree contributions for Medicare; ensured charter schools can be audited; and finally gained the long-sought Safe Patient Handling Act to protect health care workers.
Public higher education gained $75 per FTE student in community college base aid. Hospital aid increased and legislators rejected privatizating SUNY Downstate Medical Center.
The budget contains a ban on pre-K-–2 standardized testing; limits on time devoted to testing and a moratorium on the use of state tests for certain consequences for students. The union also was able to stop charter school access to state building aid.
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