ALBANY, N.Y. May 19, 2011 - With their budget votes behind them, school districts statewide are now bracing for the pain of this year's education funding cuts - cuts that will be highlighted during a series of events held today across the state.
An estimate by New York State United Teachers shows some 15,962 school-related positions are targeted for elimination statewide, including teachers, teaching assistants and support staff. The cuts will be made through both layoff and attrition.
"It is simply wrong for students and schools to bear the brunt of New York's fiscal problems when the state's wealthiest residents are poised to receive a tax cut," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi.
"Despite the overwhelming challenges faced by our public education system, I am confident NYSUT members - from teachers to support staff - will rise to the occasion to ensure our students receive the best education possible," Iannuzzi added. "Hopefully, the state Legislature will rise to the occasion as well and move to mitigate these education cuts by extending the temporary income tax surcharge on the wealthiest New Yorkers as Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has so rightly proposed."
Today's events - marking the kick-off of the "Student's First Reality Tour" focusing on the impact of this year's $1.3 billion cut in state education aid - are being held by NYSUT, the Alliance for Quality Education and Citizen Action of New York. The events will be held in:
Buffalo - 11 a.m., City Hall, 65 Niagara Square.
Rochester - 11 a.m., School of the Arts, 45 Prince Street.
Cape Vincent - 3:15 p.m., Cape Vincent Elementary School.
Troy - 2:00 p.m., School 12, 475 First Street.
Albany - 11:00 a.m., LCA Room, Legislative Office Building.
Yonkers - 2:45 p.m., Lincoln High, 375 Kneeland Avenue.
"New Yorkers - as proven by Tuesday's 93.5 percent school-budget passing rate strongly support their local schools," said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta. "It is time Albany show that same kind of support and adopt measures that will help restore funding to our education system rather than pushing reckless policies such as a property tax cap, which would do nothing to ease the burden on taxpayers and would only aggravate the fiscal constraints with which our schools are already struggling."
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.