Parents, students protest budget cuts

June 26, 2008 4:17:56 PM PDT
Thursday was the last day of school for students in New York City schools, but parents are already worried about next year. From overcrowding to budget cuts, parents are making sure their voices are heard.On Thursday, three Manhattan schools had the chance to experience the almost daily protests against school budget cuts.

One of the schools is PS 234 in TriBeCa, an area that is full of high-rise condos and new construction.

"They need to build more schools or stop building residential apartments," parent Carolyn Coffey said.

Eyewitness News reporter Art McFarland tagged along as students from PS 87, on the Upper West Side, delivered letters they had written to schools chancellor Joel Klein, asking him not to cut their school's budget. The concern over budget cuts, however, is city-wide.

"We lost our pre-K a couple years ago to budget cuts," parent Lee Ranaldo said. "We've lost some of the extra teaching things, like some of the amenities for music and art and science and things. So it's all impacting the situation here."

As his year-end briefing with members of the education media, Klein spoke of the challenges facing all department heads.

"The problem comes that our expenses are rising at a more rapid rate than our revenues," he said. "And so, in fact, schools will feel a reduction in their purchasing power."

There are ongoing negotiations about a proposal that would take at least $100 million from the City Council budget to help offset the projected cuts from the school's budget. Parents say they will continue to protest until there is a solution they are happy with.


STORY BY: Education reporter Art McFarland