Featuring Cynthia Nixon
(Long Island, N.Y.) The Alliance for Quality Education released a video today featuring Emmy and Tony Award-winner Cynthia Nixon. The video, titled Priorities, highlights the impacts of $1.5 billion in cuts to schools being proposed simultaneously with a $4.5 billion tax cut for high income New Yorkers. The video is available on the AQE web site (www.aqeny.org). The video calls on New Yorkers to “make your voices” heard against the budget cuts by submitting a homemade video to AQE’s Dear Governor Cuomo Video Contest.
AQE, New York’s leading parent and community-based education advocacy organization, is running a grass roots campaign against Governor’s Cuomo record-setting proposed cuts to schools and against his proposal to cut taxes for the top three percent of income earners. As the video script details, the cuts threaten the loss of 10,000 to 20,000 teachers, librarians, guidance counselors and other school personnel as well as the closing as 100 or more schools statewide. Much of the cuts could be prevented if the legislature rejected the governor’s proposal to eliminate the high end income tax (known as the millionaires’ tax).
“The video contest provides an opportunity for students, parents and teachers to let Governor Cuomo know the educational consequences of his dramatic school cuts,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director, AQE. “Yesterday’s Quinnipiac poll shows that 76% of New Yorkers oppose these cuts, meanwhile several polls show that two-thirds to three quarters of New Yorkers don’t want to see the Governor cut taxes for the wealthy.”
The video contest offers prizes of iPads for students or $1000 donations to classrooms our youth organizations to the winners. Contest submissions are due March 8, finalists will be posted on the AQE web site and winners announced in mid-March. Details on how to enter the contest are included the Priorities video and on the AQE web site.
Nixon is a public school parent in New York City and is a graduate of New York City public schools herself. For the past nine years she has been a spokesperson for AQE campaigns to win full implementation of Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) court order.
After 13 years in the courts with repeated orders for increases in school aid at every level of state court, in 2007 the governor and the state legislature agreed to implement a settlement by enacting a $7 billion four-year funding increase statewide including $5.5 in foundation aid (basic classroom operating aid). The foundation aid prioritizes the highest needs schools and students. After two years of scheduled increases followed by a funding freeze in 2009, last year Governor Paterson used a veto to enact $1.4 billion in school cuts. This year’s cuts proposed by Governor Cuomo would take back the remaining CFE funding increases. In addition Governor Cuomo’s budget proposes a cap on future CFE increases that would make it impossible to ever achieve full implementation.