Editor’s Note: On Friday, June 20, teachers from Boston Public Schools left their classrooms to picket in front of the schools to call attention to the impact of budget cuts upon public education. The following release from the Boston Teachers Union explains how the severity of budget cuts prompted them to take this action.
The Boston Teachers Union Wants to Explain Why We are Picketing Today
Our schools at best operate on a maintenance budget. The slightest decrease in a school’s budget can have a devastating effect on the delivery of classroom services. The decrease proposed for next year is drastic.
Our particular school has been asked to absorb at least an 8% budget decrease. This has forced us to cut staff and services for the upcoming school year. The problem is that state aid to the city has been reduced, forcing the city to similarly reduce its appropriation to the school department. Our school, in turn, has lost 8% of its appropriation.
Mayor Menino has submitted a revenue package to the state, seeking the ability to have the city raise some of its own funds. We support his effort. We ask you to call Governor Romney at 617-727-3600 or your legislator (617-722-2000—Rep; 617-722-1276—Senate Clerk) and ask each to support the mayor’s revenue package.
Citywide the budget problem has had severe implications. Close to 1000 teachers and support personnel have been noticed for layoff. Most of the layoffs will persist. This will have a devastating effect on your child’s education. Many hundreds of paraprofessionals will be laid off. This, too, will hurt.
Class size will increase, many electives have been eliminated, and after-school programs will be curtailed. All told, our schools will suffer, our students will suffer, and the progress we have made will be threatened.
That’s why we are picketing here today. We are concerned about the upcoming layoffs. We want our schools to continue to provide the best education we can, but we are concerned that the proposed layoffs will have a negative effect on the quality of instruction.
We do not believe that our schools can function properly given the level of funding our city has received from the state. We call upon the legislature to rescind some of the tax cuts it has granted over the last 10 years to the wealthier members of our society. Further we ask the legislature to support the mayor’s request to raise local revenue by increasing the meals tax, among other items.
Thank you very much. The Boston Teachers Union looks forward to working with you over the next few months, as we try to get the state to reverse the budget cuts it has imposed on Mass. cities and towns.
For further information, call The Boston Teachers Union, 617-288-2000.