A coalition of more than 25 education, labor and community groups is organizing a march with buses leaving from six different Queens locations to head to Albany Saturday to protest Gov. George Patakis proposed $1.4 billion cut to the state education budget.
The United Federation of Teachers is planning the lobby day Saturday and participants plan to demonstrate against the vast education cuts that would hurt schools at a time when they are subjected to increasing academic standards, a spokesman said.
The governor has proposed record cuts in education funding, union spokesman Ron Davis said. We at the UFT are working with our colleagues to mobilize support against his proposed education cuts.
Davis could not speculate on the number of people who will be taking the buses or carpooling up to Albany because he said the final number of buses leaving for the state capital may change. According to a UFT flier, however, the group is saying the protest could be the largest event in support of public education Albany has ever witnessed.
A march beginning at 1 p.m was scheduled at Empire State Plaza.
Jessica Garcia, spokeswoman for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity which is currently suing the state for what it claims is the unfair distribution of tax monies to the education system, said the rallys aim is to draw attention to students in kindergarten through post graduate studies.
The point is to bring education supporters from all over the state, said Garcia, who wants more not less money for the boroughs schools. We believe that the current system thats being used in Albany does not consider the needs of students.
Other groups joining the UFT and Campaign for Fiscal Equity are the New York State Congress of Parents and Teachers, New York State Association of School Business Officials, School Administrators of New York State, Civil Service Employees Association, New York State AFL-CIO and the New York Public Interest Research Group.
The six locations from which the buses in Queens will be leaving at 7 a.m. Saturday are: Forest Hills HS at 67-01 110th St.; Bayside HS at 32-24 Corporal Kennedy St.; Springfield Gardens HS at 143-10 Springfield Blvd.; Long Island City HS at 14-30 Broadway; Beach Channel HS at 100-00 Beach Channel Drive; and PS 207 at 159-15 88th St.
Registration to take the buses can be filled out on the UFT Web site at www.uft.org. A box lunch will be provided on the bus and the cost to hold a seat is $10, which will be refunded to those who claim their reservations.
We think it is imperative to have a strong show of force, Davis said. We need to show how much we oppose these cuts.
Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156
©2003 Community News Group
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