Sunday, February 10

New coalition asks state and mayor to keep their promises to NYC's schools

Photo by Philissa Cramer/Insideschools

Everyone who's anyone in the fight to improve the city's schools stood on the steps of City Hall this afternoon for a press conference announcing the creation of the "Keep the Promises" Coalition. The coalition of teachers, principals, advocates, elected officials, and community groups, formed during an emergency meeting held Thursday in response to the mayor's mid-year budget cuts, is calling for state lawmakers as well as the mayor to follow through on their promises to fund the city's public schools at the level agreed to in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit.

CFE Executive Director Geri Palast explained today how the state agreed to pay $2.35 billion to the city's schools in four years and how the mayor committed $2.2 billion to match. Now that times are tough in Albany, however, the state reduced the amount it plans to pay the city in the first year of the deal, and the mayor not only reduced schools' budgets for next year but took money back from them for this year as well, forcing principals to cut after school programs, tutoring, and other services.

"This is ridiculous," said the UFT's Randi Weingarten today. "At the drop of the Dow, kids become the last priority again." The coalition plans to hold a larger rally sometime in the near future.

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