New Yorkers can surely understand the frustration of Wisconsin teachers and other state workers who have already given back in salary and benefits – and are still being blamed for budget problems.
The West Genesee Teachers Association in Central New York reduced its negotiated wage increase from 4 percent to 2 percent in Spring 2010 to save positions.
This year, the local union went a step further and agreed to a wage freeze.
The governor even sent a letter of congratulations last week!
The district also used $2.3 million of a $4.4 million reserve fund and passed a $4.8 % increase in the tax levy.
Even with all these efforts, the district would still have to eliminate 60 positions because of the 16.6 percent cut in state aid. That’s 21 teachers, 29 SRP’s and three administrators.
Also on the chopping block: a seventh-grade reading program and kindergarten teaching assistants.
And in a district that takes great pride in its fine arts programs of music, dance, art and theater, there will be no more third-grade string program or fourth-grade band.
Say goodbye to Latin – unless it can be taught through distance learning. Say goodbye to technology upgrades, to high school electives with fewer than 15 students; and to the teacher center.
So long, farewell.
And, as if that’s not enough, for 2011-12, the Onondaga Road Elementary School would be closed.
This is why NYSUT is pressing hard to prevent state budget cuts to schools, where the sacrifice is already a reality for teachers and students.