Capping off days of protests against proposed budget cuts to the city's school system, the Alliance for Quality Education and other advocacy groups today delivered seven 50-foot petitions with more than 16,000 signatures to the mayor's office at City Hall. The petition calls for Mayor Bloomberg to restore his proposed budget cuts which would "cut $350 million from classrooms by eliminating more than 6,000 teaching positions as well as afterschool programs, arts programs, tutoring, sports, counseling, professional development and other essential services," the group said.
Bronx City Councilmember Fernando Cabrera will lead another protest Friday Monday at 1 p.m. at a multi-cultural festival atPS 64 in the South Bronx. (The Friday protest was postponed until Monday because of the weather, organizers announced Friday morning.) Cabrera, a former teacher and high school counselor, says PS 64 and other schools in District 9, the city's second-lowest performing school district, will "lose vital teachers and staff, materials and supplies, all necessary, all necessary to educating children if the mayor's budget proposal passes."
AQE's press release, including its proposal for how the Department of Education can save money:
"What: Parents, students and community members organized by New York City education groups deliver petition, signed by more than 16,000 New Yorkers opposing city cuts to schools, to Mayor Bloomberg. The Mayor’s proposal would cut $350 million from classrooms by eliminating more than 6,000 teaching positions as well as afterschool programs, arts programs, tutoring, sports, counseling, professional development and other essential services. Participants will call for the Mayor and City Council Members to make restorations to the education budget.
The parents are concerned that even a budget deal that prevents teacher lay-offs will not be enough to protect a significant drop in the overall number of educators, as many will leave through attrition. They are also concerned that such a deal would still leave a deficit that would lead to significant cuts to the classroom: tutoring programs, arts and music classes, and resources for students and teachers.
The parents will argue Thursday that the City has re-appropriated $205 million in state dollars to the City’s general fund instead of keeping it as part of the education budget, creating a false premise for the mayor’s cuts. They’ll also point to an IBO estimate that the DOE could save $100 million through better accounting—and as much as $150 million if teacher attrition is more in-line with independent estimates, and not the City’s widely disputed number.
Who: Alliance for Quality Education, New York City Coalition for Educational Justice, New York Communities for Change, Class Size Matters, United Neighborhood Houses, Mirabal Sisters."