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UFT 2023 state legislative priorities

Our take on the FY24 executive budget

School aid

Our perspective and position
We applaud and support the commitment to fully fund our public schools by increasing total school aid for NYC public schools by $593.7M, or 4.78%. With this infusion of funding, we will continue to work on reducing class sizes to the new limits set by the historic class size legislation passed and signed into law last year.

We reject the executive's practice of creating set-asides within foundation aid. 

Charter schools

Our perspective and position
We oppose the Governor’s proposals to eliminate the regional cap and revive so-called “zombie” charters. If her proposals become a part of the final state budget, it could lead to as many as 106 new charters opening in NYC; and with a loophole in education law that permits each charter to operate an elementary, middle, and high school, we could see as many as 318 new charter schools in NYC. To put that into perspective, 318 new schools is nearly the number of schools in Dallas and Seattle combined.

Charter schools drain resources from our local public schools and push out students who don't meet their corporate models. Children are labeled "disciplinary problems" and are repeatedly suspended. Charters continue to enroll smaller numbers of the city’s most vulnerable kids and we still don’t know how they raise and spend their funds. Instead of expanding the industry, we should reign them in and hold them accountable over their enrollment and financial practices.

In collaboration with NYSUT and Hart Research Associates, we conducted a poll in February 2023 that showed that New York voters overwhelmingly oppose the expansion of charter schools and prefer to invest in public schools. This position was universal: 85 percent of Democrats; 68 percent of Republicans; 77 percent of unaffiliated voters; 77 percent of Black voters; 81 percent of Hispanic voters and 79 percent of New York City voters reject expanding charters and siphoning money from their own local neighborhood public schools.

When asked about their top education priorities , 94% of voters want to see expanded literacy programs in public schools for struggling students and 92% want public schools to provide more access to career and technical programs that prepare students for jobs.

What we're asking

  • Oppose the Governor’s proposal to expand charters
  • Limit charter school grade level expansions (S2974/A6561)
  • Make the Board of Regents the sole authorizer in the state (S1395/A4502)
  • Stop using public funds to pay for private facility space rented by NYC charters (S2137/A5672)
  • Pass the Charter School Transparency and Accountability Act (S4466/A4458)

Read our charter school fact sheet »
Read poll on voter opposition to charter school expansion »
Read the AFL-CIO’s charter expansion opposition memo »

Career and Technical Education

Our perspective and position
Career and Technical Education programs are highly effective in helping students transition to college and career, and they ensure our economy has a prepared workforce.

What we're asking

  • Support the proposal to create a robust high school-college-workforce pipeline by investing $10 million over two years to have school districts, community colleges, and our Regional Economic Development Councils develop strategic workforce plans.
  • Increase the $3,900/pupil funding cap in the Special Services Aid to cover the actual costs of CTE programs.
  • Expand funding to allow 9th-grade students to participate.

Video: UFT Vice President for Career and Technical Education Leo Gordon speaks about the power of CTE programs »

Mental Health and School-Based Health Centers

Our perspective and position
We support the governor’s proposal to expand school-based health centers and increase student access to mental health services at the centers. Our United Community Schools partner with school-based health centers to provide health and wellness visits as part of their programming.


Our perspective and position
We strongly oppose the governor’s “Pay and Pursue” proposal. We should work toward reining in hospital costs, not providing hospitals with more opportunities to increase their profits on the backs of union members. This proposal fails to consider how added costs will be passed along to patients.


Our perspective and position

Our union membership includes 6,000 home-based childcare providers. We are supportive of the governor’s childcare reforms and have recommendations on ways to further improve our system.

What we're asking

  • Transition to a cost estimation model—and away from the market rate model—to provide funds to childcare providers based on the true cost of care.
  • Pay for enrollment instead of attendance to improve workforce stability and retention.
  • Increase differential payment rate for homeless and non-traditional hours of care across the state.
  • Continue to support and fund the Facilitated Enrollment Child Care project.


Our perspective and position

Allow all UFT members who work in our public schools move from the NYC Board of Education Retirement System to the NYC Teacher Retirement System. 

Our perspective and position

Last year we began making necessary reforms to Tier 6 by lowering the vesting requirements from 10 years to 5 years. This year, we plan to continue to make additional reforms to ensure equitable retirement across the public workforce. We believe in providing public employees with the same sound and basic retirement, which they have earned after decades of public service, is a step in the right direction to alleviating the gaping holes that currently exists across all levels of government.

What we're asking

  • Reduce the required employee contribution rate for Tier 6 members to a flat 3% of salary, payable over their career. 
  • Provide Tier 6 the same retirement pension factor as Tier 4 members with more than 20 years of service.


Our proven programs

UFT Teacher Center

Our perspective and position
For more than 40 years, the UFT Teacher Center has been a guiding light for NYC educators, a statement that could not be more true during the pandemic.

140 Teacher Center sites in 2022–23
231,000 educators, principals and parents supported in 2021–22
100,000 hours of professional development provided in 2021–22

What we're asking

  • Fund Teacher Center statewide at $28.5M

Read more about the UFT Teacher Center »
See a list of UFT Teacher Center sites »

United Community Schools and community school categorical aid

Our perspective and position
Our teacher-inspired nonprofit, United Community Schools, has developed a community school model proven to transform public schools and the communities they serve. Our UCS model pays for a Community School Director/Site Coordinator, who is an expert at bringing in resources and building partnerships. This is a value-add position that allows school leaders and educators to focus on education. This model and expertise should be available to all community schools across the state.

6:1 Community School Director's return on investment
6,000+ families fed in 2021–22
14,500 health clinic visits coordinated in 2021–22
20,000+ kids and families supported per year

What we're asking

  • A $4 million grant to sustain our current network of community schools
  • $100 million of categorical aid for community schools statewide including a $5 million allocation to United Community Schools to offer statewide technical assistance and support.

Read more about United Community Schools »
See a list of United Community School sites »

Positive Learning Collaborative

Our perspective and position
Our Positive Learning Collaborative (PLC) program is one of our most effective tools for bringing equity to NYC education and helping teachers, students and parents cope with — and heal from — trauma. We need to bring its proven expert services to as many schools as possible, now more than ever.

What we're asking

Read more about the Positive Learning Collaborative »
See a list of Positive Learning Collaborative sites »