This flyer was distributed to marchers at the May 3 Albany rally to restore education funding
Question: When is a budget restoration not a budget restoration?
Dear Fellow Marcher for Education,
As an advocate for public education, you will want to know the facts about the restoration proposed for the City University of New York (CUNY). One critical fact is that even the budget passed by the Senate and Assembly leaves an $82 million hole in CUNY’s budget, to be filled by thousands of students whose tuition costs will soar. Undergraduate in-state tuition at CUNY senior colleges is projected to increase by $950 a year—a 30% increase.
The historic Senate/Assembly agreement is a victory on many fronts, and we strongly support the restorations it proposes. The students, faculty and staff of CUNY will do everything in our power to support legislators who may be asked to override a gubernatorial veto of the Senate/Assembly agreement.
We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in K-12 education, for whom the Senate/Assembly agreement restores vital funding. We congratulate the Senate and Assembly on passing a budget that restores important areas of higher educations funding: TAP, community college base aid, and opportunity programs.
But for CUNY, the victory is incomplete. While the operating budget at CUNY’s four-year colleges is restored in the Senate/Assembly budget, the amount of state funding plummets by $82 million. The difference will be made up by students, whose tuition costs are expected to rise by $950. And tens of thousands of financially needy students will not receive any TAP aid to cover the increased tuition, including those who are part-time or financially independent. Our students are among the poorest college students in the country; 60% come from families whose annual income is under $30,000.
So while we offer our strong support for the budget restorations that have been passed, we know that they are not enough. We are angry that we find ourselves every year scrambling to restore what has been cut, rather than gaining the new funding we need. We are angry that state funding for CUNY has dropped by half a billion real dollars since 1990. And we are angry that the 2004 budget may be balanced on our students’ backs.
As we go forward together after today’s march, let’s work to support the victories we’ve won, but also to remember the battles that remain to be fought. Rebuilding the CUNY budget must become one of our major battles, and we look forward to fighting it with you.
The Professional Staff Congress/CUNY
The union of 20,000 faculty and professional staff at the City University of New York