April 05, 2014

Cutler: Surplus realized; our advocacy is strong

Author: By Kara Smith
Source: RA Reporter
Caption: NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.

NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler highlighted a union on the fiscal upswing.

"I stand before you for the first time in four years saying that seven-letter-word: surplus," said Cutler, who used a series of slides to illustrate fiscal goals NYSUT achieved over the past few years, including restoring NYSUT reserves, instituting long-term operational savings, developing non-dues-based revenue resources and doing it all without layoffs or service cuts.

"We weathered the storm with strategy, a vision and a strong moral compass," said Cutler, who acknowledged the help of his staff in reaching the goal.

"Please give my staff a hand," he said. "They are amazing people who put their heart and soul into everything they do."

Cutler praised the social justice advocacy of NYSUT members, noting several by name, including Joe Cantafio, West Seneca TA, who raised more than $70,000 for flood victims in the wake of devastating area floods; David Kazansky, UFT, who runs an anti-bully prevention support hotline for New York City students; Tom Matthews, UUP Geneseo, who incorporates social justice and leadership into his classes; and Matt SaGurney, Kenmore TA, who uses painting and design to teach about human rights heroes like Robert F. Kennedy and Malala Yousafzai. "I’m reminded of the influence one adult can have on so many lives," said Cutler.

And after riding with bus drivers in the Alden School District this year, Cutler noted the importance of SRPs who, "support and love the children we teach every single day."

He also noted the advocacy of SRPs, like Annie McClintock, United Teaching Assistants of Harborfields, and Sandie Carner-Shafran, Saratoga Adirondack BOCES EA, who brought Speak Truth to Power to their school districts, inspiring a new generation of human rights defenders.

"In impoverished areas, I have seen our schools and union leaders become the one place the community can count on, and the one institution that can help lift so many out of poverty," he said. "Locals address issues of poverty every day, providing students with warmth during the cold winter and a warm community to boot.

"As I do my part in keeping our treasury strong and healthy, I know I can count on you to continue your fight for justice and a quality education for all," said Cutler.

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