Executive Budget Cripples CUNY Programs
March 23, 2011
By Neal Tepel
According to the Professional Staff Congress (PSC/CUNY), the union representing faculty and professional staff at the City University of New York (CUNY), the Executive Budget plan would cripple community colleges at the City University of New York and undermine quality of instruction throughout the university,
“After three years of budget reductions totaling $205 million, our classrooms are packed elbow to elbow, our students are graduating late and paying higher tuition, and our campuses are falling into disrepair,” said Barbara Bowen, president of PSC/CUNY, who charged that the governor is essentially delivering a Bush era tax cut to the rich by refusing to maintain the income tax surcharge passed last year or consider other potential revenue streams.
Bowen bemoaned the harm that long term disinvestment in CUNY has wrought on the University and warned that the governor’s budget would sap CUNY’s ability to provide a path to opportunity for thousands of students who are struggling to overcome the huge and growing economic inequalities that exist in our state.
“Larger class sizes, fewer courses, fewer full time faculty, less student mentoring and guidance, longer time to graduation, and more students failing and dropping out these are the choices Governor Cuomo made in his budget. Instead of asking millionaires to pay a little more, Cuomo would ask CUNY students to put their future on hold. That will hurt all New Yorkers,” said PSC first Vice President Steve London.
The Governor’s budget for CUNY senior colleges proposes an $11.9 million cut carried over from the state’s current year deficit reduction and a newly proposed $83.2 million cut, for a total reduction of $95.1 million. Continuation of last year’s cuts to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) is also part of the Governor’s budget plan, along with a 10 percent ($226 per full time equivalent) drop in Community College funding. If enacted, the latest community college cut will bring the total three year reduction in state aid to community colleges up to a $641 per FTE a cut of almost 25%.
PSC/CUNY contends that the governor’s deep cuts to education, healthcare and social services target the most vulnerable and threaten the state’s economic recovery. Note: The Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, affiliated with NYSUT and the AFT, represents the 22,000 faculty and professional staff at the City University of New York.