If you are having trouble reading this email, please click here>>

November 24, 2008

Budget Fight Heats Up

Two campuses held rallies this afternoon, and last Tuesday PSC members were joined by CUNY students on an early morning trip to Albany to join the protest against Governor Paterson’s proposed budget cuts. Students from Brooklyn College, Bronx Community College and BMCC rallied with their faculty – and hundreds of others as part of the One New York Coalition – in a snowstorm that blanketed the capital. Inside, the governor and the legislative leaders met in a rancorous session but failed to reach agreement on budget cuts. As a result, it is very unlikely that CUNY will suffer a further cut in this fiscal year, or that the proposed tuition increase of $300 per semester will be imposed this spring. 

But the battle is far from over. The key issue is that the governor has so far refused to consider any progressive proposals for increasing the state’s revenue. The One New York Coalition, an alliance of 150+ community groups and unions, has advocated strongly for progressive revenue proposals. At two press conferences in Albany on Tuesday, PSC President Barbara Bowen made the case for progressive revenue proposals, and as a speaker at the rally, called for increased investment—not just relief from cuts—for CUNY. New York State would have $17 billion more in revenue this year alone if it just reversed the tax cuts enacted since 1994, which largely benefited business and the richest New Yorkers. And the immediate budget gap for this year could be significantly narrowed simply by using the state’s “rainy day fund” (Tax Stabilization Fund), created specifically for this purpose. Revenue is the solution. Get the facts.

Get Involved in the Fight for a Fair Budget!

The rallies, press conferences, and radio ad are all part of the union’s year-long campaign to win fair budgets for CUNY from the City and State. Public investment is the way out of the recession – a new deal for NY starts with CUNY.

Here are three ways to be involved this week and next:

  • Collect more CUNY Rising cards.

These postcards show Paterson and other lawmakers the depth of community support for CUNY. We’re up to 42,050 and counting. City Tech leads the pack with 7,000 cards collected so far – how is your chapter doing?

  • Testify at the Board of Trustees hearing on the CUNY budget next Wednesday.

The PSC calls on faculty, staff and students to testify on CUNY management’s proposed 2009-10 budget for CUNY, which will include a tuition increase. Tuition has risen faster than inflation, yet per-student funding from the State has fallen by 14% since 1991. If you want to add your voice against shifting more of the cost of CUNY onto students, come to the Board of Trustees hearing on CUNY’s 2009-2010 budget on Wednesday, December 3 at CUNY Central, 535 East 80th Street. To sign up to testify, call the Office of the Secretary at 212-794-5450 before 4:30 pm on Tuesday, December 2, and indicate that you wish to address the budget. There is a three minute limit. (PSC members and CUNY students may email Dania Rajendra if they want information for their testimony.) Members are also welcome to attend without testifying.

Tuition Hike Facts: Did You Know?

When New York State authorizes CUNY to charge higher tuition, the increased funds have, in the past, gone to fill the hole left by the withdrawal of state funds. During the 1990s, tuition for CUNY students skyrocketed as the state withdrew financial support and the University’s overall budget fell by $245 million in inflation-adjusted dollars. The proposal Governor Paterson made in November continues this pattern. 90% of the tuition increase would go directly into the state’s coffers and 10%, or, about $2.5 million would go to CUNY. But that amount does not restore the $40 million cut from the senior colleges or the proposed $5.1 million cut to community colleges.

The result of tuition increases continues to be students shoulder more and more of CUNY’s costs, the state decreases support, and CUNY winds up with less money. More facts are here.

Final Days to Change Health Insurance Selection

All PSC members, including retirees, may change their health insurance options during this Fall’s health benefits reopener period, November 3 to 28.

More information for both full-timers (who make changes to their health insurance benefits through the City’s Health Benefits Program) and part-timers (who change their benefits through the Welfare Fund) is on the PSC-CUNY Welfare Fund website.

November is also the “open enrollment” month for doctoral student employees to enroll in the NY State Student Health Insurance Program scheduled to take effect in January 2009. See the 10/27/08 This Week for more information.

Reappointment Letters Due 12/1

Adjuncts and other part-timers must receive written notice of reappointment (or non-reappointment) for next semester by December 1. This letter should include your title and your hourly rate. If by next Monday, you have not received a letter, or your letter does not include your title and hourly rate, please call a part-time grievance counselor at the PSC, 212-354-1252. Class assignments, however, depend on the budget, the curriculum, and sufficiency of registration.  Once you have received an appointment, you must be told of changes in the conditions which impact your employment as soon as the college knows of them.

Full time faculty, CLTs and Instructors in the second or more years of service are also due written notice of reappointment or reappointment with tenure by December 1. If you do not receive a letter, or if you do receive a letter of non-reappointment, immediately contact a PSC grievance counselor, 212-354-1252. The last day the union can file a grievance challenging a denial of reappointment is January 10, 2009.

Thanksgiving: PSC, CUNY closed Thursday and Friday

The PSC officers and staff wish all PSC members, their families and friends a peaceful and happy Thanksgiving.