Below is a press release from the organizers of the rally. Please consider attending and showing your support for New York City’s public schools.
Hundreds of students, parents and teachers will march through South Brooklyn November 30, protesting ongoing budget cuts under the banner, “Some Cuts Don’t Heal.”
“We’ve had enough,” said Mike Schirtzer, a history teacher at Leon M. Goldstein High School in Manhattan Beach. “These cuts are hurting our children and it’s just not right.”
The last round of education cuts left city schools like Goldstein in dire circumstances. Classrooms are packed to capacity, while resources are being spread thinner and thinner. Some schools are running out of paper, while others don’t have enough books to go around.
One student at Goldstein, a senior, noted that because of budget cuts, she has fewer classes to choose from: “Art classes, classes that are considered less important, all these things are being cut.” She said she was concerned that this would drastically limit her options after graduation.
School staff have also suffered under these cuts. During the most recent round of cuts, most schools were forced to lay off some or all of their school aides, professionals who perform vital administrative and support functions. “School aides are invaluable,” said Schirtzer. “They help monitor the lunch rooms, hallways, and student activities. Without them, there is less adult supervision in the building and this endangers the safety of our students.”
The rally will be attended by teachers and students from Goldstein, Grady, New Utrecht, John Dewey, and Franklin D. Roosevelt High Schools. But while this campaign started with students and teachers, a wide range of city workers will participate. Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, which represents New York’s subway and bus workers, endorsed the rally, which will begin at the Coney Island/Stillwell Ave subway station, a major transit hub. Like school workers, transit workers have suffered mightily from city cuts in recent years, and a large contingent of subway and bus workers will be present at the November 30 rally.
The rally has also been endorsed by TWU Local 101, which represents the city’s gas workers. Workers from local firehouses, hospitals, and public libraries will also be in attendance, along with other New Yorkers who are simply concerned about the state of their city. Professors and students from Kingsborough Community College will also be in attendance.
“What kind of city are we building for our children?” asked Schirtzer. “What kind of future will they have, living in neighborhoods where the schools and libraries are cut to the bone? We need to fight for them now, before it’s too late.”
The November 30 march will begin at 4:00 pm, outside the Coney Island/Stillwell Ave. subway station. From there, marchers will head through Brooklyn to Abraham Lincoln High School on Ocean Parkway. To see the march route, go to http://www.tinyurl.com/march-route