Governor Cuomo is about to make devastating cuts to public school funding, as early as next week.
When they passed the budget earlier this month, State Legislators handed unprecedented power to the Governor to alter the state budget throughout the year. As we approach the first budget-revision deadline on April 30th, Cuomo has released a “plan” that outlines massive 20 percent budget cuts across the board. Experts say that would bring schools aid back to 2014 funding levels.
Cuts this deep pose an existential threat to the fabric of our public education system. Governor Cuomo has made it sound like austerity is the only option for the state to make ends meet amidst a financial and public health crisis — but austerity measures and cutting essential funding to public schools will only make this crisis worse.
Instead of balancing the budget on the backs of Black and Brown students:
- New York State can immediately borrow money from the federal government at near-zero interest rates to provide cash needed to keep our schools funded.
- State Legislators can raise revenue with new tax brackets for billionaires and millionaires. New York is home to some of the wealthiest people in the world. But our state also has some of the worst inequality in the nation, including our spending on public education. Not only can our State Legislators raise revenue here in New York — they have a moral obligation to do so.
- Congress can act quickly to provide additional relief to New York in the form of a fourth stimulus package that will ensure that the state cannot make additional cuts and allow the federal dollars to be the relief it is intended to be.
Cuomo’s proposed cuts would cause unprecedented harm and set back the education of thousands of students. This is going to be especially true once schools reopen and students will have to not only catch up academically, but have to deal with the loss and trauma they experienced from COVID-19.
We have just days to stop massive cuts to public schools, and it is going to take all of us urging our elected leaders — at the state and federal level — to fight for our children. We cannot allow Governor Cuomo to take even more from those who have the least to give — Black, Brown and low-income children and families — so that the ultra-rich can keep getting richer.
Write to your State Legislators and representatives in Congress now, and urge them to take action to prevent Cuomo’s cuts. New York’s Congressional delegation must fight for a stimulus package that will protect our students. And when the State legislature convenes, the first item on their agenda must be taxing the wealthy to invest in our schools and communities. Send an email to your representatives now!
Governor Cuomo isn’t New York’s supreme leader. Once he makes his official proposal public, the legislature will still have 10 days to approve it or strike it down. State Legislators cannot stand by idly and allow the Governor to make oppressive cuts to public schools. Speaker Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins must call the legislature back to Albany immediately, so they can take the actions needed to prevent Cuomo’s disastrous plan for cuts. Email them now.