Albany, N.Y. April 7, 2021 — New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta issued the following statement on the state budget:
“It’s an understatement to say it has been a tough year, but this budget brings hope for revival starting in 2021. The state is taking the first steps since the Great Recession to fully fund Foundation Aid for K-12 schools, which is a huge boost as districts and educators triage the pandemic-related needs of students and drill down to the underlying academic and social-emotional needs schools were grappling with before the pandemic. Starting to eliminate the TAP Gap that has squeezed our public colleges also is progress toward maintaining and improving high-quality state and city university systems. For our community colleges, the state is committing to maintaining critical funding that will help these two-year institutions through enrollment fluctuations driven by the pandemic.
“To ensure there is funding for these critical needs in the years ahead, we’re finally going to see some economic justice as New York asks the ultrawealthy to pay their fair share toward our public services. A progressive tax policy, combined with significant federal resources delivered by the federal government, starts our pandemic recovery on the right foot.
“That isn’t to say there is not more work to be done, though. We had advocated for a statewide early retirement incentive for all public school employees. Unfortunately, that has fallen out of the budget. And after a decade of relatively flat operational funding for public universities colleges and hospitals, they needed significant new investments in operating support in this budget that have not come to fruition.
“We now turn our attention to the remainder of the legislative session. We will continue to advocate on behalf of our members and those they serve to ensure our communities don’t just have what they need to return to normal, but that the policies in place help us come back stronger.”
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.