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VIDEO! Parents to Bloomberg: Stand up for Students, Not Millionaires!

March 3, 2011

Parents and education advocates called on Mayor Bloomberg today to stop making hollow threats to crowd the City’s classrooms, and instead join them in the growing coalition pushing Albany to extend the Millionaire’s Tax.  The group urged the mayor at a City Hall rally to finally support the progressive tax on New York’s richest in order to protect City residents from destructive and unnecessary cuts, and to keep our education crisis from turning in to a disaster.

“Mayor Bloomberg knows the only real solution to our budget crisis is to raise revenue in a fair, smart way,” said Brooklynite Ceilia Green, a parent of 4 public school students.  “Extending the Millionaires Tax is the best option on the table.  It would not change the standard of living for the very small percentage of New Yorkers it would effect, and it would more than make up for the budget shortfall Albany has planned for our schools.”

Recent polls show two out of three New Yorkers support extending the Millionaire’s Tax, while the same number oppose state cuts to local school aid.  Extension of the progressive tax would close the massive gap in education funding left by Governor Cuomo’s budget plan.  Yet Bloomberg said this week he would instead fire more than 4,600 teachers, ignoring New Yorkers’ widespread support for a fairer tax code.

Parents invited the mayor to join them on their trip to Albany next week, when hundreds of parents will fill buses and bring their message to the capitol.  They called on both Cuomo and Bloomberg to stop playing politics and to start solving problems.

“We all know that firing that many teachers – no matter how long they’ve been teaching – is not a solution,” said JHS 98 parent Gail Gadsden.  “Our classrooms would be too crowded to teach.  Our students would never have a chance, and our struggling school system would take years to recover.”

“We need to explore different solutions to the budget situation,” said Eudocia Rodriguez, whose daughter attends PS 81 in Bushwick.  “Teacher lay-offs is simply not the way to go, because it will a terrible impact on our children and their education.  We urge Mayor Bloomberg to join us in Albany on March 9th, push for extension of the Millionaire’s Tax, and then use those resources for our kids’.”

Analyses have shown that struggling schools in poorer neighborhoods would be the hardest hit by budget cuts and teacher lay-offs.  The lay-offs proposed are also beyond reason.  Nine schools would lose half or more of their teachers, under Bloomberg’s proposal.  Twenty-one schools would lose 40% or more of their teachers.  One quarter of teachers at more than 100 schools citywide would be laid off. Parents were joined today by members of New York Communities for Change, the Coalition for Educational Justice, Make the Road New York, and other groups.

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