ALBANY, N.Y. March 24, 2009 — Hundreds of NYSUT members converged on the Capitol today for a late push to ensure that the state education budget provides public schools and colleges with the funding they need to preserve programs and prevent layoffs.
Professional Staff Congress President Barbara Bowen and First Vice President Steve London (background) discuss proposed cuts to community colleges with Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan) during NYSUT's Committee of 100 lobby day March 24 in Albany.
NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi said the union activists delivered the message that, "The federal stimulus package removed the imminent danger of a wholesale retreat in education funding, but still leaves a significant shortfall. The state must maintain its investment in education to ensure that student programs are preserved and that teacher layoffs do not add to an already weak economy.
The NYSUT activists met with lawmakers throughout the morning before returning to the The Desmond, 660 Albany-Shaker Rd, for a debriefing session beginning at noon.
NYSUT Executive Vice President Alan B. Lubin said the federal stimulus bill is expected to go a long way towards preventing a crisis in public schools. "While the picture today is obviously brighter than two months ago, we now need school boards to use the money as intended by Congress — to save programs and stop layoffs. And, we need the governor and Legislature to 'keep the promise' and increase education funding by $1.8 billion over last year so we can continue our work to end the achievement gap," Lubin said.
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents some 600,000 classroom teachers and other school employees; faculty and other professionals at the state's community colleges, State University of New York and City University of New York, and other education and health professionals. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.