ALBANY, N.Y. Jan. 31, 2018 — New York State United Teachers today called on lawmakers to at least double the proposed $769 million school aid increase to help school districts meet rising costs and pay for programs to help students succeed. While acknowledging the array of fiscal challenges facing the state, NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said enhancing school aid must be a top priority to ensure that public schools continue to make progress.
In legislative testimony, Pallotta said a $1.5 billion state aid increase is required just for districts to cover mandatory costs and maintain current programs and services.
“Even in a difficult budget year, fully meeting the needs of students and public schools must be the state’s first priority,” Pallotta said.
NYSUT said closing the carried interest loophole as the executive budget proposes, and asking the state’s wealthiest 1 percent, who will enjoy a windfall from federal tax cuts, to share more fully in the costs of educating New Yorkers, are smart strategies to raise additional revenue.
Pallotta said this should be the year that lawmakers fix the state’s broken testing and evaluation system and, working with the Board of Regents, replace it with a system that ends the reliance on standardized testing and respects local control.
NYSUT also said other legislative priorities should include a greater state investment in teacher centers and mentoring programs; more funding for BOCES programs; and professional development for educators around the newly adopted standards.
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.