Yonkers, NY, March 21, 2011 — Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone (center) was in Albany today along with Yonkers Schools Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio (right) and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (left) for the purpose of lobbying state legislative leaders for the restoration of severe school funding cuts to Yonkers and other serious issues affecting the City of Yonkers in the state budget. They had a series of meetings with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (below right), Sen. Jeff Klein (Yonkers, The Bronx)(below left), Senate Finance Committee staff, and others.
Education funding for Yonkers was cut more than $20 million in the Governor's proposed budget. The budget adopted by the NYS Senate last week cut an additional $15 million in education funding, which was taken from VLT (Video Lottery Terminals) revenue from the Empire City Racino at Yonkers Raceway. Assembly and Senate versions of the state budget are now pending in conference committees.
Below is an official statement from Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone about his joint lobbying efforts today.
"Today we took some very important steps toward restoring the deep cuts made to Yonkers' education funding in the state budget. Although we are not all the way there yet, we gained commitments from key legislative leaders and have an agreement to work together to restore as much school funding as possible.
"Specifically, our meetings with Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his staff were very productive and promising. Senator Skelos has a clear understanding of our city's and school district's needs and has agreed to work closely with us over the next couple of weeks to restore education funding cuts to Yonkers, mainly the much needed VLT revenue we collect from Yonkers Raceway. I want to thank the majority leader for his commitment to work with us and for understanding the important role the city of Yonkers continues to play in putting New York State back on the right track.
"I also want to acknowledge the important efforts made by Senator Jeff Klein on behalf of his constituents in Yonkers. Senator Klein has taken a leadership role in working with Majority Leader Skelos to restore the education funding cuts made to Yonkers, and he has assured me that he will continue to fight hard until we accomplish that goal.
"Finally, I want to thank County Executive Rob Astorino who has added an important voice in lobbying on behalf of Westchester's largest school district. Today was the first time a county executive has taken an active role in fighting for Yonkers schools and I want to thank him for that.
"I look forward to more productive conversations in the coming days until we achieve what we set out to do: secure fair and equitable funding for the 26,000 students in the Yonkers Public Schools."
– Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone
SOURCE: City of Yonkers, Office of the Mayor, David Simpson, Director of Communications