Posts Tagged ‘teachers’

Teachers’ Organizations Rally to End Budget Cuts

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Article by: Tracy Diamond

An organization held a rally outside of South Ocean Middle School Wednesday to share stories and speak out against budget cuts to Long Island public schools.

The Long Island Education Coalition (LIEC), the Long Island Progressive Coalition and the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) teamed up to voice their disagreement with the $1.3 billion budget cut.

Aside from being held in front of the middle school, the rally was not affiliated with the Patchogue-Medford School District.

“Our message today is to let Governor [Andrew] Cuomo and the state legislator know that school cuts hurt our kids,” AQE Community Organizer Danielle Asher said. “Three weeks into the school year, we’re feeling those effects, whether it’s pre-k or kindergarten programs being cut to half day, or sports programs.”

According to Asher, the main areas of loss have been to after school programs, athletics, and advanced placement courses.

“The Patchogue Medford school district has been hit very hard, as well as many surrounding districts like William Floyd, Longwood, and Brentwood, so we wanted to be in the area that was hit the hardest,” Asher said.

LIEC co-chair Vincent Lyons said a survey was sent to the 120 LI school districts and preliminary findings were made out of 101 responses, showing the differences between low wealth and high wealth schools.

“The state aid cuts had a direct, negative impact on the lower wealth districts- class sizes, AP courses, career and tech- they had to reduce their programs by 40 percent,” Lyons said. “The high wealth districts, because they’re not dependent on state aid, had no adverse impact at all, they didn’t cut any programs.”

Lyons explained that schools have two streams of funding: tax-based and state aid, and with reductions in both comes losses in low and high wealth districts, but the difference in the amount of cuts between the two is evident.

“What we’re concerned about is the achievement gap, this growing disparity between the haves and have-nots,” Lyons said.

The preliminary findings offer statistics regarding each area of loss faced by low and high wealth districts, the numbers for low wealth significantly higher.

“They have to start protecting our children and putting funding into our public schools,” Asher said.

Education supporters rally at Hofstra

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Close to 2,500 parents, teachers, students and supporters of public schools rallied at Hofstra University last night in a mass effort to save them from more than a billion dollars in proposed school spending cuts.

“No more cuts,” chanted the large crowd in protest of the $1.5 billion in education cuts Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed. “They say cut back. We say fight back.”

The rally, organized by the Long Island Progressive Coalition, Alliance for Quality Education, and the main New York State teachers union, NYSUT, echoed a similar demonstration in Sachem last month and another protest Wednesday involving Sachem educators. Like those events, Thursday night’s rally drew an angry standing room only crowd that had sharp words for Cuomo.

Public school advocates at Hofstra’s physical education building blasted not extending the so-called millionaire’s tax and said a 2-percent tax cap proposed by Cuomo could seriously hurt public education.

“We need the governor and legislature to fund education in New York State — not cut it,” said Cynthia Di Miceli, a West Hempstead Board of Education member and a parent of two.

Earlier Thursday, lawmakers reported that an extension of the millionaires tax was dead. The tax on high-earning New Yorkers is set to expire Dec. 31. It applies to individuals with $200,000 or more in annual taxable income and families with $300,000 or more.

Cuomo’s tax cap proposal would limit any property-tax hikes to a maximum of 2 percent or the rate of inflation.

Protesters said the spending cuts could lead to classes of up to 40 children and major cuts in programs and services.

“I cannot believe we live in a state where our millionaires come before our kids,” said Danielle Asher, lead organizer of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

Several school buses from both counties sat parked outside the rally.

Teresa Rodriguez, who teaches fourth grade at F.J. O’Neill Elementary School in Central Islip, carried a sign that read “The Buck Stops Here Go Get It From Wall Street.”

She has taught in the district for more than two decades. Central Islip school officials have said some 80 teachers could be let go this year.

“The fact is we are losing too many teachers,” Rodriguez said.

North Babylon parent Deborah LoSardo, also a first-grade teacher in West Babylon, brought her 6-year-old twin daughters to the rally.

Twin Peyton LoSardo carried a sign telling Cuomo “I am not your scapegoat.”

“I want them to be representative of what will be lost,” her mother said.

Hundreds of LI teachers rally against proposed school aid cuts

Friday, February 18th, 2011

(02/18/11) FARMINGVILLE – Hundreds of Long Island teachers, parents and students rallied last night at Sachem East High School against the governor’s proposed school aid cuts.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) has proposed slashing school aid by $1.5 billion.

Long Island schools would see $200 million less in state aid under Cuomo’s budget. Multiple schools districts have already warned teachers of drastic layoffs and program cuts.

“Our schools shouldn’t have to balance the state budget on their backs,” says Danielle Asher, of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

State Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) says he’ll fight to make the cuts as painless as possible, but with a $10 billion state deficit, he warns that significant cuts in education are inevitable.