Faculty, students and politicians rally to fight education cuts. In this photo: Kit Wainer, UFT Chapter Leader; Jessica Kallo, student; John Liu, NYC Comptroller; Principal Joseph Zaza (Source: Kit Wainer)
New York City Comptroller John Liu joined Leon M. Goldstein High School Principal Joseph Zaza, and 125 faculty members, parents and students last Monday to protest the ongoing budget slashes of the city’s public schools.
It was the latest in a series of rallies the school, located at 2001 Oriental Boulevard, has had over the past two years, since the city and state have sliced-and-diced from every nook and cranny of budgets. This rally came on the heels of the largest single-agency layoff since Mayor Bloomberg took office, in which 672 school aides, parent coordinators and family workers lost their jobs.
That meant more pain for our local schools, which are already suffering from staffing and programming cuts.
When we asked Victoria Sottile, Goldstein’s United Federation of Teachers Consultation Committee member, in a Q&A piece last year why a rally is important, she told us “the demonstration is important to raise awareness as to how seriously the budget cuts are affecting the quality of education we can provide to our students.” She told us about gaps in student schedules, the slashing of Advanced Placement programs and even basic science and math courses being eliminated because of staff shortages.
Last June, about 600 students staged an early morning walk-out in response to the budget cuts.
About 600 students from the Leon M. Goldstein High School, located at 1830 Shore Boulevard on the Kingsborough Community College campus, rallied against proposed budget cuts to education by walking out of their classes yesterday morning.
Foreign language, art and music programs are threatened to be sent to the fiscal slaughterhouse, and students — carrying signs and chanting slogans along Shore Boulevard — let their disapproval be known, accusing the city, amongst other things, of “diverting education funding to charter schools.”
“We know it’s a little ridiculous to expect budget cuts to stop right away, but we’re trying to show that this many students care and that, as a group, the fact that we will do this and make a stand, we want the mayor to see that we are here, we do know what’s going on, and we wont stand for it,” Goldstein junior Miranda Young told News 12.
The walkout, which lasted an hour, took place after students’ first two classes.
Sheepshead Bites has brought you extensive coverage on the proposed cuts at Goldstein over the past few months, which Goldstein’s United Federation of Teachers Consultation Committee member and English and Drama teacher Victoria Sottile estimated to be approximately $500,000 as of November 2010, but as the mayor and the City Council have until June 30 to pass the budget, there is a greater sense of urgency for preventing further cuts to the school.
Leon M. Goldstein H.S. // Source: lmghs.org
With the Department of Education eying 47 schools for closure – including Sheepshead Bay High School – it’s hard to believe that the hemmoraging of our public education system could bleed much more. But lost in the headlines are the deep-reaching cuts that are crushing even the best schools.
Leon M. Goldstein High School for the Sciences, located on the Kingsborough Community College campus at 1830 Shore Boulevard, sits perched atop the list of best-performing schools in the city, and is a beacon of exemplary education in our neighborhood.
But it has not been spared the budget axe.
Victoria Sottile, Goldstein’s United Federation of Teachers Consultation Committee member, is asking the community to join teachers, parents and students in picketing outside the Oriental Boulevard and Shore Bloulevard Gates at Kingsborough Community College on Wednesday, November 17, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. Sottile has 22 years of experience as a public school educator, and is an English and Drama teacher at Goldstein H.S. since 1995.
We caught up with Sottile to find out about the depth of the budget cuts to Goldstein, and the effect its has on their offerings. The message is clear: it is dark times for schools of every caliber, and the community needs to make a stand.
Read our Q&A with Sottile to learn more about the severity of the cuts, and why you should come to the rally.