Senator Brian X. Foley (D – Blue Point) and the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), along with other community and school leaders hosted a press conference today to call on state lawmakers to make substantial reductions in cuts to education aid.
“Our schools and our students deserve the funding required to ensure that New York’s students are in a position to receive the best education we can provide so that they are competitive with students across the country,” said Senator Foley. “Since taking office, I have fought over and over again to preserve funding for Long Island’s schools so that we can ensure that we can balance the need of our students to have reasonable class sizes and the proper equipment to learn with the need of our taxpayers to not be overburdened by property taxes.”
“Today, Senator Foley is standing with parents, students and local property taxpayers to represent their interests – maintaining excellence in education by ensuring that schools have the funding they need, while rejecting deep budget cuts that eliminate programs and shift the burden of paying for education to local property taxpayers,” said Richard C. Iannuzzi, President of NYSUT.
"Senator Foley’s commitment today to insist on restorations for our public schools is crucially important to our school children,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director of Alliance for Quality Education. “Senator Foley spoke out on the floor of the Senate against the education cuts in the Senate budget resolution, now he is raising his voice to see to it that the final budget contains restorations.”
Senator Foley has fought from day one in the senate to preserve education funding. Within his first month in the chamber, Senator Foley was called upon to vote on the Governor’s Deficit Reduction Plan, which included drastic cuts to funding. Senator Foley refused to support the cuts and led the successful charge in the senate to restore the funding. Two months later, Senator Foley was again instrumental in restoring proposed cuts to education that were included in the original budget proposal presented to the senate. At the end of 2009, he ensured that education funding was held harmless in a second Deficit Reduction Plan.
In addition to fighting to restore proposed cuts, Senator Foley has recognized that there must be fundamental changes to the system of education funding and that residents need relief from property taxes. Senator Foley is the lead senate sponsor of the School Property Tax Reform Bill, also known as Framework for the Future, which would change the way in which school funding is calculated and distributed. He is also one of the leading senate sponsors of the Circuit Breaker legislation, which would provide meaningful property tax relief for homeowners by taking into account the percentage of income they pay in property taxes.
“When the senate budget resolution, including cuts to education funding, came to the Senate floor, I made it clear that it was unacceptable and that there would have to be rollbacks in the amount of cuts,” said Senator Foley. “I stand here today to reaffirm my commitment to ensuring those cuts become a reality. I strongly urge all of my senate colleagues to join with me in making substantial reductions in the cuts to education so that we can protect our schools, our children and our taxpayers.”