Protesters gather in Mount Vernon to decry state budget cuts to schools

Thirty school districts in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties would face cuts in their state aid for education next year under the current proposed state spending plan.

Lisa LaRocca and

News 12 Staff

Mar 1, 2024, 11:27 AM

Updated 84 days ago

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Parents, school administrators, teachers and officials from around the region protested Friday in Mount Vernon to voice their opposition to proposed state budget cuts to schools.
They argued that any reductions in school funding are unacceptable.
Thirty school districts in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties would face cuts in their state aid for education next year under the current proposed state spending plan.
During her budget address, Gov. Kathy Hochul mentioned the difficulty of sustaining funding for schools at the record rates seen in recent years. These cuts could lead to fewer teachers being hired, reductions in after-school programs, and the scaling back of individual courses.
Last year, New York school districts received significant funding from Foundation Aid, which is the primary source of state funding for public schools.
If these cuts are implemented, the Mount Vernon City School District says it''ll be getting almost $3 million -- $2.9 million less compared to last year.
"The solution is simple - fund our schools. Give us the money that we need so that we can educate our children," said Keith McCall, president of the Mount Vernon Federation of Teachers.
Acting Superintendent Dr. K. Veronica Smith says their finances need that and then some.
"If the $2.9 million is restored, we still have to cut some positions. So, we need money. We need help," she said.
A spokesperson for Hochul said, "Governor Hochul's executive budget includes record education funding." They also said there's $3.27 billion in school aid for Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties -- an increase of $899 million since Hochul took office.
Next week, a group of educators plans to travel to Albany in hope of influencing policymakers on this issue.
"The work that happens in these buildings is amazing work, and we don't want to take anything away from our students. They deserve the best," said Melinda Person, president of NYS United Teachers.


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