Council members hear UFT funding priorities
At the union’s annual legislative breakfast with City Council members on April 25, the UFT made an impassioned case for a city budget that fully meets the needs of New York City’s students. At UFT headquarters, speakers described the tremendous value of the UFT Teacher Center, United Community Schools, the Positive Learning Collaborative, the BRAVE anti-bullying hotline and the Member Assistance Program.
Rosanne Kneubuhl, a longtime Dial-A-Teacher staffer, described the warm relationships she has developed with the frequent callers to the union’s homework helpline, including 12th-grader Anthony, who’s been calling since 2nd grade. Said Kneubuhl, “We heard his voice change. He’s graduating this year, and all of us are ecstatic.”
These vital union programs that help educators and students, union reps said, need funding to survive.
UFT members also called on the City Council to provide more funding for schools to support migrant students. Christina Torres of PS 182, Manhattan, spoke of the newcomers’ immediate need for language acquisition, food and clothing, and support in making the transition to life in New York City.
Educators detailed their extensive fundraising and community-organizing efforts to help these students and their families.
“If we work together, we’re all supporting each other,” said Torres. “We can make magic happen.”
After a months-long push by the UFT and other public school advocates, the mayor and the city Department of Education made good on their promise not to cut individual school budgets in September. Schools will be held harmless for drops in enrollment — at least in September.