With just days before school budget votes and school board elections, time is running short.
Is there anything you, as a NYSUT local union member, can do? Absolutely!
Local school budget votes in most districts statewide take place Tuesday, May 16. Unfortunately, school boards will again have to deal with the ill-advised tax cap lawmakers passed in 2011. With limited ability to raise local revenue to make up for diminished state aid, student success is at risk.
Help your local union get out the YES votes! Ask your local president or your building rep how you can get involved. Locals are using a variety of methods to let community residents know how their school budget proposals will affect them and their children.
- NYSUT developed "Vote Yes" postcards and made them available to local union leaders on NYSUT’s website — www.nysut.org/schoolbudgettoolkit (member login and leader-level access required). Your union can host a “postcard party” for members, active parents and the PTO to address postcards to likely Yes voters in your community.
- Working with your PTO and sports booster clubs, for example, your local could set up a phone banking network so teachers and parents can call other NYSUT members and other parents who share an important self-interest – passing the school budget on May 16.
- Many unions work with principals or superintendents to hold school concerts, art exhibits or talent shows on budget night. It brings families with young children — likely YES voters — to the polls.
- Take the campaign to where parents with young children congregate — soccer and Little League fields and softball diamonds.
- Don’t leave any YES votes on the table. You can examine the voter rolls at the polling site. Union members — and PTO leaders — can bring their cell phones and at 6 p.m., begin calling those likely Yes voters who haven’t yet cast their ballots.
- Speak to newer NYSUT members in your local union to make sure they appreciate the importance of voting YES on their own school budgets.
Remember, when a person takes the time to speak to you, or anyone, about the school budget, there’s a much better chance of that message sinking in — and getting them to VOTE YES.