April 8, 2013

Letters to the Editor: April 8, 2013


---- — NYSUT propaganda

TO THE EDITOR: New York State United Teachers has a statewide campaign under way feigning concern for the adverse effect testing will have on our kids.

NYSUT ran a full-page ad in the March 28 Press-Republican signed by NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi. The ad, “An open letter about testing: what parents and community members need to know,” stated that NYSUT “fully supports the principle of accountability for students and educators.”

Does NYSUT think we are that gullible? The tests that NYSUT claims they are being blindsided with have been in the works for two years. The data and money trail make it obvious that NYSUT could care less about the education of our kids or accountability of schools.

Look at the data: New York state is ranked an abysmal 32nd in a country that is ranked 17th in the world:

Costs are $20,000 per student in New York (more than any other state). Follow the NYSUT perks at:

* Iannuzzi’s 2011 compensation was over $301,000.

* North Country Regional NYSUT Director John Harvey’s 2011 compensation was over $189,000.

* NYSUT spends big: $329,000 at The Desmond, $337,000 at Gurney’s Inn Resort & Spa, $424,000 at Otesaga Hotel, $118,000 at the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid.

The list of “overhead” is long; see:

NYSUT is an obstructionist organization. The ad is designed to upset the community and undermine attempts at reform.

NYSUT will continue to allow school programs and education to be thrown under the bus because their perks are threatened by reform. Don’t be fooled by their propaganda.

It’s not our schools or our kids’ education NYSUT is concerned about. Follow the money.




Funding reductions

TO THE EDITOR: I am deeply concerned about the reduction in state funding to the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities in the recently passed budget.

While the overall New York state budget was increased slightly under 2 percent, the budget for the OPWDD was decreased 4.5 percent. According to news articles, this decrease is due to New York overcharging Medicaid for decades and now being required to repay the federal government $3 billion.

Repayment to the federal government should be spread throughout the state budget. It should not be taken out on the developmentally disabled and the programs that benefit them. They are not to blame, yet they appear to be the ones being punished for others’ mistakes.

Gov. Cuomo said the cuts should come from administrative costs; however, this is unrealistic. Cuts of this size mean people and, most likely, direct support people and programs. From my personal observations, the direct support staff is already stretched to the limit.

Many items in the total state budget appear to be aimed at jobs and economic growth. Yet here in Essex County, the largest employer is Mountain Lakes Services — our only local provider for the developmentally disabled. By cutting funding to OPWDD, not only are our developmentally disabled impacted but also employment opportunities here.

This reduction in funding detrimentally impacts those who are least able to defend themselves — the developmentally disabled — and also those seeking employment in our county.