Thursday, March 10, 2011

NYC PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENTS FED UP WITH BUDGET CUT THREATS AND MAYOR’S AGENDA

Updated: 3PM
NEWS RELEASE
For immediate release: March 10, 2011
Contacts:
Michelle Ciulla Lipkin - 917-494-9155 - ciulla@mac.com
Rebecca Woodard - 646-295-3528 - rmw2010@gmail.com
Noah E. Gotbaum - 917-658-3213 - noah@gotbaum.com
NYC PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENTS FED UP WITH
BUDGET CUT THREATS AND MAYOR’S AGENDA

(New York, NY) - Concerned NYC Public School parents spoke out today at City
Hall regarding the state’s proposed $1.5 billion education budget cuts. In
strongly worded statements, parents expressed their collective frustration and
displeasure regarding the rising class sizes, program cuts, and teacher layoffs
that would happen if budgets are slashed. Parents directed most of their anger
not at their Governor in Albany, but rather at their long lost education mayor.
“NYC cannot afford to allow Mayor Bloomberg to cut our education budget and
get rid of our teachers,” said parent organizer Rebecca Woodard. “As parents,
we are fighting for our children and teachers to receive the funding they need to
be successful. We must stop him from exercising his ridiculous power and
demand he lives up to his self-proclaimed title as the “Education Mayor”. I am
here on the steps of City Hall letting him know that we will NOT go away, we will
NOT stop and we will keep coming back.”
Parents are particularly angry at the threats Mayor Bloomberg is making about
their teachers’ job security and fed up with the Mayor trying to draw them into a
collective bargaining negotiation concerning LIFO. High School parent, Larry
Wood comments, “What's particularly outrageous to me is that the Mayor has
spun the teacher lay-offs into a debate on HOW the lay-offs should be
conducted. That's NOT the issue. The issue should be WHY are we laying off
thousands of teachers at all!! We should be focused on stopping the cuts not a
better process to implement them.”
Having experienced last year’s cuts, including the loss of some 4000 teachers
through attrition and mid-year in-school reductions averaging 6%, parents
voiced anger at additional proposed reductions on kids and schools: “My fourth
grader now gets gym once every six days, my 5th grader’s combined music and
drama program takes place with 60 other kids on a piece of a shared auditorium
stage, and my special needs Kindergartener was placed in a class of 27 kids even
though the DOE’s own Committee on Special Education recommended a program
no larger than 12 kids,” said Noah E Gotbaum, President of Manhattan’s
Community Education Council for District 3. “At the classroom and school level,
the fat has been cut; now the Mayor wants to go after the bone.”
Why these cuts are necessary, however, was not clear to the parents, who
offered up some alternatives: “Despite the Mayor’s fear mongering and layoff
threats, New York City will see an almost $2 billion budget surplus in 2011,
primarily due to higher Wall Street revenues. Allocating just 15% of this will
prevent all teacher layoffs,” said Stefanie Goldblatt, public school parent of two.
“And at a time when services for our most vulnerable are being decimated, it is
unconscionable to be offering tax cuts to the wealthiest among us. The
Millionaire’s tax alone could generate enough to make up for all education cuts –
statewide.”
Some wondered where the mayor’s business expertise has gone. Shino
Tanikawa, District 2 Community Education Council Member, said:
“The Mayor, who prides himself as a business leader, apparently is unable to
manage the City's budget. He threatens to lay off teachers while increasing the
budget for IT related contracts for the DOE, because the DOE did not budget
properly. Are computer consultants more important to education than teachers?
Our children need teachers before they need high-priced consultants, many hired
on no-bid contracts.”
Parents also shared their observation that weak schools drive families out of the
city faster than anything else, something that seemed lost on Mayor Bloomberg,
whose PlaNYC invited new residential development, full of family amenities and
multi-bedroom apartments, but did not address the long term needs of the city’s
school system.
"It is uncertainty about what will be left of our public schools after the education
budget is slashed yet again, and not the extension of a modest existing tax, that
will drive families and their tax dollars from our City and State. Preserving the
existing source of funding in a budget shortfall is both good policy and good
business,” said Mark Diller, public high school parent.
There is a citywide schools meeting at 6pm this evening at The High School of
Fashion Industries (225 West 24th Street) to continue the discussion about
education budget cuts and determine next action steps for parents.


Parents, unite!


It's time to fight for funding!
For our schools
For our kids
For everyone’s future

If you are a parent in the NYC Public School System,
you need to come to City Hall for this important event ORGANIZED by parents, FOR parents

Thursday, March 10
1PM
City Hall*

·       Say "no" to education budget cuts
·       Say "no" to bigger class sizes
·       Say "no" to program cuts
·       Say "no" to teacher layoffs

We need parents from
every borough & every district!
We need to make our voices heard!
Our children depend on us!

Contact parent organizers with questions:
Rebecca Woodard - rmw2010@gmail.com - 646-295-3528
Carlos Ruiz - hotcarlos106@yahoo.com - 646-334-1145


*City Hall is located in City Hall Park.By Subway:#4, #5, #6 trains to City Hall/Brooklyn Bridge#2, #3 trains to Park PlaceW, R trains to City HallC, A trains to Chambers Street By Bus:M15 to City Hall/Park Row

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