Mayor Bloomberg, No Excuses! Get on the Bus to Albany & Restore School Cuts!
Responding to Mayor Bloomberg’s recent claims that NYC public school parents “don’t understand the value of education”, parents parked a school bus at City Hall today, and invited the mayor to stand with them, not against them, by finally traveling to Albany to get the funds New York City’s children desperately need.
Though the mayor has consistently blamed Albany for his own drastic cuts to education and other essential services, he has not himself advocated for a solution to restore the cuts, nor has he supported revenue solutions such as the Millionaire’s Tax—a continuation of the tax on the wealthiest state residents favored by more than two out of three New Yorkers. Meanwhile, the parents at today’s event have traveled to Albany to do just that many times, and tirelessly fought for a solution.
“My son is finally getting some of what he needs to be successful and feel good about himself in his elementary school in the Bronx. Now the principal is telling me that if these cuts go through, we will lose the very teachers that provide extra support and assistance to my son,” said Jose Gonzalez, parent leader at United Parents of Highbridge. “How will he continue to gain in self-confidence and academic skills? He was lost before and he is not alone. Our children are up against a lot. They need more support and attention, not less. There is no excuse for budget cuts to our schools, not when there are so many alternative ways to deal with the budget crisis.”
“I’m a single mother of an 11-year-old boy. I lost my job two years ago because of budget cuts. I want the best for my son, but Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t care for our children,” said Minerva Morales, parent leader at the NY Civic Participation Project. “I’ve volunteered in my son’s schools, yet the mayor says we place no value on education. He’s the one who lacks respect, and sees no value.”
“I made the trip to Albany several times this year to fight for the renewal of the Millionaires Tax because our students are suffering,” said Carina Ponce, parent leader at PS 166 and the Alliance for Quality Education. “Now it’s time for Mayor Bloomberg to hit the road to Albany because my school has already lost music classes and its science classroom, and our students don’t have enough textbooks.”
Instead of standing up for parents, the mayor has lashed out at those calling for his leadership and blamed Albany. Yet when the State restored more than $200 million in education funding and the DOE identified $34 million in other cost savings, the Mayor did not seize the opportunity to restore teacher layoffs, and instead stuck to his position of eliminating 6,000 teaching positions.
In reality, instead of facing more than $500 million in cuts as the mayor claims, the administration must actually work to restore about $350 million. Today, parents demanded that the mayor can and should make up that shortfall by choosing from a number of options available to him, including using his influence as mayor and as a powerful campaign contributor to extend the Millionaire’s Tax in Albany, applying City reserve funds set aside for just this type of crisis, ending costly and unnecessary subsidy for big banks, and reducing wasteful spending on consultants, public relations and over-testing at DOE.