Yonkers parents rally against school budget cuts

With Yonkers public schools facing a dire $28 million in cuts, parents rallied Saturday outside City Hall.

They also plan to travel to Albany next week to give lawmakers a piece of their mind. Buses will leave Tuesday at 7 a.m. from Lincoln High School and Riverfront Library. Many people who will be traveling to Albany say they also plan to repeat their message at a Yonkers City Council public hearing in the evening.

The $28 million in cuts could reduce art and special-education classes, and wipe out the entire after-school program, according to critics. A one-time payment of $28 million to Yonkers public schools expires this year. Students and parents are asking the state to establish a recurring payment formula to prevent schools from being underfunded year after year, and to keep after-school activities running.

Ariana Pradiu, an 11th-grader, said her mother can't afford to send her to college, and that budget cuts could ruin her chances of earning scholarships.

"If they cut volleyball that was one of the scholarships I was trying to get," said Praidu. "So, I just want to make sure that financially my mother will be OK."

"Without these activities I wouldn't be the person that I am today. I mean these activities keep us out of trouble," said student Ashley Mendola.

"The cuts are unethical, really," said Yonkers PTA President Karen Beltran. "We are already maxed to the limit in every classroom in every school, so any further cuts would really be devastating."

The state Legislature will break for the summer on June 17.

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