The importance of this year's school budget cannot be overstated. Three consecutive years of funding cuts have forced schools across the state to eliminate academic programs, lay off nearly 30,000 teachers and other educational professionals and increase class sizes. Now, the financial pressure stands to only get worse thanks to a property tax cap that will further limit revenue for schools already reeling from drastic aid reductions.
The education of our children is at stake. Under the state's new tax cap law, if the budget put before voters is rejected, school boards may choose to go directly to a contingency budget and our schools will receive no increase in aid whatsoever. That means further cuts in academic programs and services, more layoffs and fewer extracurricular activities like sports and music.
Please, on behalf of the children, vote yes Tuesday on this year's budget. Our students — especially during this time of higher standards and increased graduation requirements — cannot afford further cuts to their education.
Let's not jeopardize their future.
Patricia A. Coia,
President, North Tonawanda United Teachers