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Parents ‘bus’ a move on DOE - Critics to bring their case to legislators in Albany

Parents – now’s the time to vent your frustrations about the public school system. District 20 is organizing a Lobby Day on February 26 to bring parents to Albany via school buses so they can discuss their concerns with state legislators. “It’s a good opportunity for them to get their voices heard,” said Laurie Windsor, president of the Community Education Council (CEC) for District 20, which includes schools in Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton and Borough Park. “They provide the buses,” she continued. “It’s a great opportunity for parents to go up, otherwise it’s very difficult to do on your own and get in a car or get on the bus from Port Authority. They make it very easy.” The trip has been an annual excursion for the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council to inform politicians about problems facing local schools. This year, the biggest topic of discussion is expected to be the budget cuts just implemented in all city public schools. “Budget cuts are at the top of everyone’s list after what happened,” Windsor said. Three weeks ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg cut $180 million from the city Department of Education’s budget for the remainder of the school year. The mayor wants to cut an additional $324 million next year. While Bloomberg insists that the cuts are necessary because of poor economic projections, parents say they’re too drastic and have caused chaos in the middle of the school year, as principals expected to have that money available. “Doing it midyear – that really throws the schools for a giant loop because they have a budget set,” Windsor said. “They have programs that they’ve scheduled and now there’s a 1.75 [percent] cut. They have to figure out what they’re going to do.” Parents who want to attend Lobby Day must RSVP by February 25 at 12 p.m. by emailing Lobbyday@schools.nyc.gov. Buses will board passengers at 6 a.m. and depart at 6:30 a.m. from District 20’s office, located at 415 89th Street. The ride is free. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. For more information, contact the District 20 family advocate at 718-759-3944.

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