Tue, May 13, 2008
TV Ad Campaign Asks Mayor, City Council To Not Cut School Funds
Michael Meenan, NY 1 Education Reporter
A budget showdown between the mayor and the teachers union over next year's city school money for has reached TV. NY1â€™s Education reporter Michael Meenan filed the following report.
A coalition called Keep the Promises is paying a million dollars for an ad campaign that calls on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City Council to call off budget cuts to city schools.
The ad includes the line, "Tell the mayor and the City Council to keep their promise and fund our public schools."
The mayor has already told all agencies to tighten their belts -- including the biggest agency, the Department of Education -- because of the economic picture.
The teachersâ€™ union, which helped pay for the ads, said schools should be shielded from cuts, as they have been in the past.
"Kids don't get do-overs. That's why we need this,â€ť said United Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten. â€śAnd thatâ€™s why we're so serious about budget cuts."
On the state level, despite facing a deficit, the governor and legislature have not cut school aid at all this year. Albany is sending $600 million to city schools and keeping up payments on a successful lawsuit by a group that proved Albany had shortchanged city schools for decades.
"We believe the state has made it clear that you can keep the promise that was legislated last year, even in times of economic downturn," said Geri Palast of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.
"I'm hoping over the next few weeks, that monies will be restored to the budgets of schools. We know it makes a difference when children get a quality education," said State Education Association Commissioner Sheila Evans-Tranum.
One city lawmaker said he and his colleagues are willing to go the distance to make sure no money's cut from city school budgets.
"If the mayor disagrees and we want to push forward, then we have to be able to replace the money," said Democratic Manhattan Councilman Robert Jackson.
In a statement, the DOE took a long-term view, and said Bloomberg increased school spending by 72 percent, or $4.6 billion, since 2002, which they said was "twice the rate of spending growth in other city agencies and also far outpaces state spending on New York City schools during this time."
Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the stateâ€™s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >