Fight Back Friday: Contact your state lawmakers next week

For 32 school districts across the state, painful decisions must be made by Monday. In North Syracuse, which saw its budget “fail” with a 54 percent “yes” vote, the board will cut $1.4 million to get under the tax cap and thus hopefully “pass” its budget with a simple majority.

You can help right this wrong. NYSUT members are asked to meet with their lawmakers next week to ask them to support a bill (A-6831) that would call for a simple majority override. The bill is sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee. There are other bills that would really help districts by allowing exemptions from the tax cap — for school safety, court orders, tuition payments, BOCES capital projects, and more are pending. If you would like to meet with your area lawmaker, contact your union’s local political action coordinator. (If you don’t know who that is, ask your local president.) You can support these efforts by contacting your lawmaker; NYSUT’s Member Action Center makes it easy for you to do that. Or if you are ticked off about testing, here’s another website. It provides lots of points about testing you can use when you contact your lawmaker.

All that advocating is also good practice for June 8, when thousands will rally at the Empire State Plaza for the future of public education. You can join your brothers and sisters from local unions across the state, as well as parents, administrators, school board members and community activists who join together to:

  • end the over-reliance on expensive corporate developed tests,
  • demand fair and equitable funding of our schools,
  • protect the safety of students and staff,
  • restore local control of our public schools by fixing the tax cap, and
  • invest in public higher education and save SUNY Downstate Medical Hospital.

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