More than two dozen parents of District 25 students marched to protest against Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed education budget cuts last week, saying the $450 million shortfall would cripple already underfunded schools.
"I want my children to benefit from every tax dollar I pay," said PS 21 PTA President Lorraine Kosnar. "Right now that isn't happening. Shame on Mayor Bloomberg."
In his preliminary executive budget, Bloomberg proposed a reduction of $450 million in school funding, according to estimates by the United Federation of Teachers. The budget is to be finalized by the City Council June 5.
City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) joined parents as they marched in protest from PS 21 to the Region 5 district offices on Linden Place May 21. Gennaro said the cuts have showed Bloomberg's much-touted emphasis on education throughout his mayoralty to be "nothing more than rhetoric."
"This is a mayor that doesn't like to hear the word 'no,' " Gennaro told the parents. "He likes to bully people. So we have to stand up to this bully, show him that we can push back."
District 25 covers schools in Flushing, Whitestone, College Point, Bay Terrace and part of Fresh Meadows.
If the cuts are finalized, enrichment programs at area schools could be reduced or eliminated, according to Jane Reiff, a member of the PTA President's Council.
"Basically, you're going to lose all of the things that make these schools in our area special," Reiff said.
The rally came just two days after nearly three dozen frustrated District 25 parents attended the PTA President's Council monthly meeting in Flushing. Gennaro and City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) both expressed support for restoring the cuts and said they are optimistic some headway can be made before the final budget is passed next month.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2008 Community News Group
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