Monday, July 18, 2022

UFT/Unity Caucus Absent from fight against budget cuts -- no support for Parent/teacher law suit, AWOL at Demos, Video of Monday Rally

Laura D. Barbieri, Special Counsel for Advocates for Justice, stated: “The explicit language of State law requires that these egregious budget cuts be halted and reconsidered by the Mayor and the Council, because the law was not followed. The State Legislature enacted an explicit budget review and voting process by the Board of Education that was eviscerated by the Chancellor’s abuse of authority. No emergency justified the Chancellor’s ignoring the proper procedure.”
Someone called me today wanting to know why the UFT was not part of the suit. I LOLed -- no way -- they are not in the habit of being bold. They'd rather negotiate behind the table where they are given a little stool to sit on.  I posted the press release on the suit minutes after it was announced. Parents/Teachers Sue DOE Over Budget Cuts

They certainly won't try to rile up the members to fight. That leaves it up to the activist element in the UFT to engage in a fight.

I am proposing a campaign to get members to sign a letter of support for the law suit. A letter that can be submitted to the court.  My sense is that, in the hope of waking up the UFT, there may be an unwillingness to embarrass them publicly by some. So it's up to UFT members to create enough of a stir to become a problem for the leadership.  Here is video of the rally, followed by more info from Leonie Haimson.

Rally to Restore the Budget Cuts - 7.18.2022 from Class Size Matters on Vimeo.


Monday, July 18, 2022

Lawsuit and rally to restore the budget cuts to schools, which the Mayor calls "a rumor"

Update: the lawsuit was covered by the Daily News, AM New York, Chalkbeat, and CBS radio.

Also much thanks to Laura Barbieri and the crew at Advocates for Justice, for working so hard on this lawsuit pro bono and doing it so quickly! 

This morning we filed a lawsuit on behalf of four parents and teachers to halt the Mayor's budget cuts to schools, and to require that the City Council has another opportunity to vote.  

The lawsuit is based on serious procedural errors committed by the Mayor and Chancellor, by allowing the City Council to adopt the education budget before the Panel for Educational Policy had an opportunity to hold a hearing on the cuts and vote on the education budget, which state law requires must happen first.

Instead, the Chancellor declared an emergency to immediately send the diminished funds to schools,  before either of the Council or the PEP had a chance to vote on them.  In this way, he attempted to short circuit the legally mandated process.  

We found that in twelve out of the last thirteen years, several Chancellors have invoked the same bogus "emergency" with the same boilerplate language -- without detailing what actual emergency existed.  Here is a press release with more detail and quotes from the plaintiffs; and here are the legal documents.

Even earlier in the day, there was a rally to protest the rally in front of Tweed, organized by the Progressive Caucus of the NYC Council, where many parents, advocates and Council Members spoke about the havoc these cuts would cause to schools and students' lives. 

Among the speakers were CM Alexa Aviles, who voted against the budget, as well as five CMs who had voted to approve the budget:  CM Shahana Hanif, Lincoln Restler, Jennifer Guttierez, Shekar Krishnan and Carmen de la Rosa all apologized for their votes, and promised that going forward, they would not approve any more budget cuts to schools.  They also said they were demanding action by the Mayor by August 1 to restore the cuts.  

In the afternoon, a bunch of parents including Reyhan Mehran buttonholed the Mayor outside an event in Brooklyn, where the mayor called the cuts a "rumor."  

They later met with the Mayor at City Hall,  where he was surrounded by a bunch of aides. After they described the awful effect these cuts would have on their schools and the system as a whole, the Mayor apparently said he couldn't say much about the issue because of the lawsuit, but that they had no idea how hard he works to benefit NYC children and how hard these choices are.  

Reyhan responded with, "Just don't make these choices then.  Restore the cuts now.

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