Teachers union stops in Westchester during ‘Fund Our Future’ bus tour
A statewide union for teachers made its way to Westchester during its "Fund Our Future" bus tour.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will make his 2020 budget address on Jan. 21, and school officials across Westchester county are hoping for a positive outcome.
New York State United Teachers president Andy Pallotta said in part, “Let's look at the realities in the schools, there are great needs and to come through with the funding for the schools.”
New York State United Teachers stopped at schools including Ridgeway Elementary in White Plains to spotlight the impact a lack of state funding has had on institutions in the area.
The group spoke with local teachers and lawmakers to advocate for new revenues to address educational inequality and expanding opportunities for children.
“It was important today to hear the needs of the school district so that we are reminded when we're facing the budget of what's important. Education is critically important, and we are going to be pushing very hard for our Westchester school districts,” says state Assemblywoman Amy Paulin.
Kara McCormick-Lyons, a White Plains middle school teacher, recalled when there were more cuts to state funding than property taxes.
"2008, we had to let a lot of stuff go and in 2010 there were more cuts, then there was the property tax cap. So, we were never able to increase pace and replace what we had," shared McCormick-Lyons.
The White Plains school district is said to be owed over $12 million in foundation aid. This has resulted in a shortage of school psychologists, social workers and aid for students in need.
"To see the $12.8 million gap in foundation aid that we presently have filled — we talked about that a lot today with our elected officials in terms of being able to provide support services to our children," says Ricca.
Westchester was just one of many stops the bus tour will be making across New York state.