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PEP May 2006
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Public Employee Press

Political Action 2006

Protecting our schools



A contingent of members from Local 372, led by Pres. Veronica Montgomery-Costa, takes time for a quick photo before meeting with legislators in Albany.

Members of NYC Board of Education Local 372 woke up early March 21 and filled three buses to make the lengthy trip to Albany where they stood up for the public school system.

The rank-and-file lobbyists delivered a clear message to state lawmakers and urged them to prevent any increase in the cap on charter schools.

“This is an important issue for all of us. That’s why it was crucial to make this trip and let the legislators know where we stand,” said Rosemary Shivers, a School Aide and Local 372 shop steward who works in the Bronx.

Veronica Montgomery-Costa, president of Local 372 and of District Council 37, led the union contingent.

“Parents applying through the lottery system set up for selecting students have a better chance of being hit by lightning than being accepted into a charter school,” she said during a briefing session with members as they prepared to hit the capitol corridors to meet with members of the state Legislature.

Currently, New York City has 47 charter schools. Statewide there are 92 more. Senate bill 6881A proposes allowing significantly more charter schools if local school boards approve.
“This is one of the first steps to privatization,” said Local 372 Vice President Santos Crespo at the meeting.

Charter schools are funded with money taken from the General Education Fund, undermining the budgets of other schools. In order to fund some of these schools, several upstate communities have had to raise local taxes. Numerous studies have shown that public schools outperform charter schools.

“Charter schools means privatizing the public school system,” said DC 37 Political Action Director Wanda Williams. “We believe in public schools.”

—Alfredo Alvarado

 

 

 
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