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Larger Class Sizes and Cuts in After School Program Predicted for NY

February 12, 2009

Albany, NY — The economic math is not good for New York schools, according to new data that shows 64 percent of districts face cuts of $15,000 per classroom. The result could be larger class sizes and fewer math, reading and after-school programs, according to a per-classroom analysis of Governor Paterson’s proposed $2.5-billion education cuts released Wednesday by education advocates.

Nikki Jones, communications coordinator for the Alliance for Quality Education, says 60 districts in mostly poor parts of the state face cuts in excess of $30,000 per classroom, well above the average.

"The average cut across the state is $15,000; more than half of the districts are receiving a cut of $15,000 per classroom. The cuts mean fewer students will have highly qualified teachers."

New York has been trying to equalize education opportunities for students in less well-off parts of the state, and Jones says these cuts won’t help, because they hit some of the state’s poorest districts the hardest.

"These are students in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, in urban districts across the entire state; these cuts will defer graduation rates for many students."

Classroom cuts to Rochester and Syracuse are about $33,000, New York City is losing $23,000 per classroom and Brentwood faces classroom cuts of $43,000.

Governor Paterson has defended the proposed cuts saying, "We must sacrifice what we want today so we can pay for what we need tomorrow."

Full listing of cuts by district at www.aqeny.org.



Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY