Teachers’ union sues state over education cuts

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(AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has reacted to reductions in the school aid budget by filing a lawsuit against the state. The teachers are seeking the release of money withheld in July, August, and September and an injunction against future withholding of or delays in school funding payments.

Schools across New York are facing a 20% reduction in state aid, which some reports say is hitting higher need districts the hardest.

The union claims continued withholding of the funding “would cause further issues with significant education-related payments,” including a $2.5 billion payment due at the end of September.

Schools across the region face cutting staff to make up the shortfall, with Albany potentially cutting 200 jobs and Schenectady laying off 76 staff.

In the lawsuit, NYSUT claims the state can avoid the cuts by drawing on $7 billion in reserves and settlement funds.

“Our students and families deserve better than staffing and program cuts just as we begin a new school year with unprecedented challenges.

A high-quality education is a vital service that’s central to helping communities thrive. It’s about time it was funded like one.”

Andy Pallotta
NYSUT President

The union also has advocated for other solutions to help fund public education, including taxes on the ultra-wealthy and additional federal stimulus funding.

However, federal funding may still be a long way away, with a second stimulus package still stalling in the house. NYSUT President, Andy Pallotta, said: “We can’t just keep waiting for action at the federal level to fund our schools”.

The lawsuit isn’t the first action teachers have taken against the cuts. On September 12, teachers took to the streets alongside parents and students to protest the measures.

The full lawsuit can be viewed below.

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