YONKERS, NY — Despite claims that $1.3 billion in state budget cuts could easily be absorbed by school districts, Yonkers education leaders say the first three weeks of school have revealed just the opposite. In a “progress report” to be delivered at a Monday news conference, the Yonkers Federation of Teachers and other Westchester-area educators will detail how deep program cuts, teacher layoffs and a frayed safety net for students in trouble are harming education.
“We have an obligation to speak truth to power,” said Yonkers Federation of Teachers President Pat Puleo. “That truth is that three years of state budget cuts have cut programs to the bone and are undermining educational opportunities for students in Yonkers and all over Westchester County.”
Puleo – joined by NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta, Parent-Teacher Association President Ann Marie Smith and others – will hold a conference on Monday, September 26 to detail the effects of budget cuts on city school students. The news conference will be held at 11 a.m. at Lincoln High School, 375 Kneeland Ave.
Puleo is also expected to be joined by state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assemblyman Mike Spano and other teachers and administrators from Yonkers and neighboring Westchester County school districts, who will also “explain how budget cuts are causing pain for students.”
Puleo said in Yonkers, for example, the education cuts mean that city schools have only:
- One school psychologist for every 2,600 students.
- One guidance counselor for every 650 students.
- Zero librarians in city elementary schools.
- 30-32 students in kindergarten classes.
- Bare bones programs in art, music and interscholastic sports.
- Deep cuts to pre-kindergarten and career and technical education programs.