Schools in the Hudson Valley and across the state are being forced to make drastic cuts after 20 percent in funding to all public schools was "quietly cut."

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The New York State United Teachers criticized state cuts to education and called on government officials to take immediate steps to stop 20 percent reductions in aid for school districts.

“No school district or student is immune to the adverse impacts of a 20 percent cut to state education aid,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “But what makes this all the more egregious is the disproportionate impact that cuts have on our neediest schoolchildren. We quite literally can’t wait any longer for action. In the absence of the federal government finally doing what’s right, the state needs to step in and prevent the decimation of our public education system at a time when needs are higher than ever before.”

Those cuts, along with years of funding shortfalls and the increased cost of operating schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, will impact high-need, low-wealth school districts the most and potentially violate students’ right to a sound basic education, officials say.

New York State United Teachers says the state Constitution requires the state to provide every student with a sound basic education adding the teacher's union will take legal action against the state if it follows through with plans to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars later this month.

“The solution to this problem can’t be shifting the cuts from district to district,” Pallotta said. “Simply put, New York needs a bigger pie, which state leaders can create by asking the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share toward public services like education.”

If the cuts remain, the poorest 10 percent of districts would be in line to lose $847 million in state aid, $3,779 per student, while the richest 10 percent would lose $42 million, $458 per pupil, according to the New York State United Teachers.

“We’ve already seen some districts make hasty decisions to slash their budgets in anticipation of a major state cut later this month,” Pallotta said. “But this isn’t just about jobs. It’s about what’s left for students when the dust settles as we see the loss of teachers and paraprofessionals who serve vital roles. The state must stop this madness.”

In response to the financial crunch, the Pine Bush Central School District announced that nearly 200 positions have been eliminated.

"The Cuomo administration, this summer, quietly cut $324,000,000 in funding to all New York State public schools. As a result of the specific cuts to Pine Bush's funding, over 200 Pine Bush SRPs and security guards had their positions abolished at this week's BOE meeting," the Pine Bush Teachers' Association said in a statement. "As teachers, we know first-hand how important our SRP and security guard colleagues are to the education of our students. We are devastated by the loss to our district and their livelihoods. Please make your voices heard in Albany and on election day to support those who support our children. New York schools need more federal and state aid to continue to deliver quality education during this global crisis."

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