We get it: government budgets can be mind-numbingly complicated. But, the annual education budget has profound effects on our members. We're constantly fighting for a better, more effective budget - one that provides educators, school-related professionals and students with the support they need and deserve.
To help you understand what's in the budget, how it affects you, and what the union is doing to improve it, here's a quick breakdown of some of the most important elements of the proposed budget for aid to K-12 schools:
In December, the Regents and the Education Conference Board all recommended a state aid increase of at least $2.1 billion.
NYSUT's Take - The total budget includes only half of the more than $2 billion increase that we feel is necessary based on increased levels of student need. We want to make sure that educators aren’t strapped for resources and school systems can provide all students with the quality education they deserve.
The proposed budget would set aside an additional $50 million out of Foundation Aid statewide, for a total of $250 million.
NYSUT's Take - Everyone agrees that community schools work, not just to educate children, but to provide much-needed, on-the-ground support to families and neighborhoods. This step up in funding is a good thing, but NYSUT wants the additional $50 million to come through Community School Categorical Aid, rather than tapping further into Foundation Aid.
TEACHER CENTERS & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The executive budget proposal zeroes out funding for Teacher Centers, as usual.
NYSUT's Take - Supporting teachers means providing consistent and valuable professional development programs. Teacher Centers are one of the most valuable resources that New York educators have to grow their skills, knowledge and, ultimately, teach students more effectively. The union is fighting to restore the 2008-09 funding at $40 million.
The budget proposal seeks $17 million for increased salaries in 4201, 4410, Special Act and 853 schools, just to meet the increased minimum wage! At the same time, he wants to cut funding to 4201 schools by 2 percent.
NYSUT's Take - These schools serve some of the state’s most vulnerable students. Funding them adequately is the responsible, ethical thing to do. The union strongly opposes the cuts to 4201 schools and specifically urges the Legislature to provide regular, predictable increases in tuition rates.