ALBANY, N.Y. Feb. 11, 2020 — New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta will testify today at a joint legislative budget hearing on K-12 education that schools statewide need a significant new investment from the state to address issues that range from a lack of social workers to staffing shortages to the loss of critical college and career preparation programs.
In his testimony, Pallotta shared with lawmakers the numerous needs that teachers, paraprofessionals and administrators have relayed during NYSUT’s Fund Our Future bus tour in recent weeks. For example, in White Plains, the district has had to cut social worker positions, which has left just two to deal with caseloads of more than 600 students at a time when the social-emotional needs of students are increasing. In Schenevus, not only has the district cut AP courses and increased class sizes, officials showed one classroom with a leaking roof and mold growing on one wall. And in Rochester, where the district laid off more than 100 teachers and paraprofessionals in December, school employees say they feel they’ve been abandoned by the state.
“Social workers, college prep courses, proper class sizes and safe classrooms are not luxuries. They are necessities,” Pallotta said. “Our children do not get a do-over. The state must increase funding to meet the needs of all students this year.”
Pallotta’s full written testimony can be found here.
NYSUT, as a member of the New York State Educational Conference Board, is calling for a $2.1 billion increase in state aid in the 2020–21 state budget, which includes the first installment of a three-year phase-in of the more than $3.4 billion in Foundation Aid owed to more than 400 school districts around New York.
In order to generate the revenue needed to fully fund public education, in addition to other state services like public higher education, health care, housing and transportation, NYSUT is supportive of new taxes on billionaires and ultramillionaires.
Pallotta is inviting lawmakers to attend upcoming Fund Our Future tour stops to see and hear firsthand the issues schools are facing. A full schedule of tour dates and stops can be found at FundOurFutureNY.org.
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.