ALBANY, N.Y. Dec. 5, 2018 — New York State United Teachers today called on state legislators to invest more in its public higher education systems in 2019 and cover costs that are now being absorbed by its four-year campuses.
“Strong, well-funded SUNY and CUNY systems benefit all New Yorkers and are the pathway to the middle class for so many students and families,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “When the state drives more funding to these institutions — and covers mandatory costs that are now swallowing up tuition dollars — SUNY and CUNY four-year campuses can better meet students’ educational needs.”
In testimony to the Assembly Higher Education Committee, Pallotta urged swift enactment of legislation — currently sponsored by Sen. Ken LaValle and Assembly member Deborah Glick — to require the state to support its SUNY Health Science Centers and fund more of the system’s required costs, such as utilities, building rentals, faculty pay and benefits, and the so-called TAP Gap.
“While many legislators have championed our SUNY and CUNY systems, the reality is that core instruction budgets have been mostly stagnant since 2011,” he said. “To ensure that SUNY and CUNY remain in the upper echelons of state university systems, the state must ‘raise its game’ and fund more of these required costs by enacting ‘enhanced maintenance of effort’ legislation.”
For example, Pallotta noted that additional faculty is needed so that SUNY and CUNY campuses can provide more courses to students, while also lowering class sizes and providing more time for one-on-one instruction. Adjunct pay should be increased, he added, to recognize the vital role adjuncts play in educating students and helping them to develop their skills.
“Implementing and funding enhanced MOE legislation could free up limited funding to support faculty pay initiatives,” Pallotta said.
Pallotta was joined in testimony by United University Professions President Fred Kowal and Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.