Our Kids are Your Kids Campaign Update
As you may know, budget negotiations are drawing to a close, and the budget will be passed next week, probably on March 29th. So this week, we are busy making our priorities known.
We are both attempting to get $14.7 million for teacher recruitment and retention in the final budget, and to lay the groundwork for legislative support of an adequate tuition increase which will be requested by the State Education Department in a letter to the Division of Budget on or around April 15th.
This week on Monday and Tuesday, Heartshare, Birch Family Services and QSAC came up to Albany to spread the message that Our Kids are YOUR Kids and they deserve to have an adequate supply of teachers too!
We met with many Senators and Assembly members including Senators Avella, Hamilton, Lanza, Ranzenhoffer, Seward, Addabbo, Golden, Hannon, Felder & Brooks, and Assembly members Mike Miller, Missy Miller, Ra, Kim, Linda Rosenthal, Jaffee, Abinanti, Mayer, Lifton, & Barrett. We met with the Speakers office and with Assembly Chair Cathy Nolan’s legislative director. We were pleased that legislators were largely very supportive and Senator Marcellino, the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, suggested that he write a letter to Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan supporting our request!
We also spoke with a member of the Governor’s Education Team. Carol Verdi of Heartshare, who runs the Mario and Matilda Cuomo School, had written several letters requesting that the Governor come visit to see their kids and the good work they do. She brought a copy of the final letter which explained in great detail, the effects of underfunding and neglect of our schools. Carol gave her a copy of the letter, explained why we were there and extended another invitation to visit. We will follow up!
We also have a call-in campaign this week, urging everyone to call their legislators in support of our request. If you haven’t done so yet, please call today! And please forward this call in request to everyone you can think of!
Another thing we have done is to create Our Kids are YOUR Kids posters which we gave out Monday and Tuesday and will continue to distribute through the end of this week to key members of the education and budget sub-committees to hang on their doors. We want Our Kids are YOUR Kids to be recognized by everyone in the State Capitol.
Thanks to everyone, especially Carol & Melissa Verdi, Lisa Gilday and Pat Barrientos, and of course, our own Chris Trieber and COPA partners JR Drexelius & Barbara Crosier, for helping to push us forward!
Stay tuned for more info as the week progresses.
Associate Executive Director for Legislative Affairs
InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies, Inc.
150 West 30th Street 15th floor
New York, NY 10001