February Issue
January 23, 2015

At a glance: 2015 New York State Budget

Author: Ned Hoskin
Source: NYSUT United
capitol
Caption: A scene from NYSUT's television ad incorporating language from a recent New York Times editorial to excoriate the the governor.

Where we stand on key issues

Pre-K-12 education

nysut united cover cuomo

State Budget 2015

Public education is the centerpiece of our democracy and a ladder to opportunity and success for all New Yorkers. Public schools are not a monopoly to be broken. Our students and educators deserve a system that is fully and fairly funded, that takes into account the devastating effects of poverty on student learning and does not hold teachers accountable for factors beyond their control. Charter schools siphon much-needed resources from under-funded regular schools and should be held accountable, not expanded.

Higher education

New York state's system of public higher education - the largest in the nation - is the essential path to economic opportunity and equality for our students. The state must create an endowment to restore and rebuild SUNY and CUNY academic departments by adding full-time faculty and staff, ensuring the quality courses, programs and mentoring students deserve. The state must increase aid to CUNY and SUNY and their community colleges and invest strongly in student financial aid to ensure quality access.

Tenure

Tenure helps safeguard our children's right to an effective education because it provides teachers freedom to advocate for their students without fear of reprisal. Tenure helps recruit and retain quality teachers. Tenure's three-year probationary period is sufficient time to determine a teacher's effectiveness. Without tenure, working under the constant threat of arbitrary firing would have a chilling effect on a teacher's professional judgment and create an environment that would erode, not enhance, educational quality.

Testing

Our students and educators deserve a system that puts the emphasis on learning not testing. Any added weight on standardized test scores will just mean more teaching to the test and a narrowing of the curricula. Instead of obsessing about test scores, we should be focused on what students need to learn and succeed - smaller class sizes, programs in the arts, music and languages, after-school programs and wraparound services that help the whole child. Health care While the Affordable Care Act made great strides in increasing the number of insured individuals and families, more must be done. It's time to expand the state's Health Reform Act to include Single-Payer Universal Health coverage. At the same time, SUNY hospitals must receive the funding they need to continue to provide their communities with quality health care.


Key dates

  • Feb. 2 Health/Medicaid Budget Hearing
  • Feb. 2 NYSUT Legislative Reception
  • Feb. 3 Elementary and Secondary Education Budget Hearing
  • Feb. 9 UFT Legislative Reception
  • Feb. 13-15 NYS Asian, Black, Puerto Rican and Latino Caucus Feb. 10 Higher Education Budget Hearing
  • Feb. 24 BOCES Lobby Day
  • Feb. 25 Higher Ed Lobby Day
  • March 2-3 Committee of 100 Lobby Days
  • March 3 Rally for Public Education
  • March 4 UFT Lobby Day
  • April 1 State Budget due
  • May 12 Nurses/Health Care Professionals Lobby Day
  • May 21-22 In-District Lobby Days
  • June 17 End of Legislative Session

Key committees and chairs

  • Senate Education Committee: Sen. John Flanagan, R-East Northport 631-361-2154 or 518-455-2071 flanagan@nysenate.gov
  • Senate Finance Committee: Sen. John DeFrancisco, R-Syracuse 315-428-7632 or 518-455-3511 jdefranc@nysenate.gov
  • Senate Higher Education Committee: Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle, R-Port Jefferson 631-473-1461 or 518-455-3121 lavalle@nysenate.gov
  • Senate Health Committee: Sen. Kemp Hannon, R-Garden City 516-739-1700 or 518-455-2200 hannon@nysenate.gov

To find members of the Senate committees, go to www.nysenate.gov Assembly Education Committee: Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, D-Queens 718-784-3194, 718-456-9492 or 518-455-4851 NolanC@assembly.state.ny.us

To find members of Assembly committees, go to assembly.state.ny.us

Use the hashtag #AllKidsNeed to spread the word

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