Feb. 2, 2016

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UUP advocates urge lawmakers to increase SUNY funding

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Nearly 90 UUP advocates urged state lawmakers to increase state funding for SUNY during the union’s Feb. 2 advocacy day in Albany.

“The state needs to invest more in SUNY,” UUPer Marc Dearstyne of Cortland told lawmakers, noting that SUNY had lost 40 percent of its state funding since 2008. SUNY students now foot the bill for nearly 65 percent of SUNY’s operating costs; the state pays the rest. “We’re afraid that disparity is going to get worse,” he said.

“We’re not just asking for us. We’re asking for SUNY students and the system,” UUPer Charlie McAteer of Stony Brook HSC, fourth from left, told Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket). McAteer was joined by, from left, Doreen Day and Irene Stern of Stony Brook HSC, Milton Lewis of Downstate, Judy Wishnia of Stony Brook, Charles Hines of Stony Brook HSC and Natalie Baker of Downstate.

The advocates, from more than 20 chapters across the state, were in town to attend the 2016 Winter Delegate Assembly, Jan. 31-Feb. 1.

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They surged through the Capitol, visiting the offices of nearly 60 legislators, including Assembly member Vivian Cook (D-Jamaica), who they thanked for passing the Maintenance of Effort bill and increasing funding for EOP and EOC last year.

Advocates urged Cook and other legislators to pass the MOE once again to cover mandatory cost increases at SUNY campuses and hospitals. UUPers, from left, are Larry and Cynthia Fuller and Bill Canning, from Oswego, Cook, Barbara Beyerbach of Oswego, Dave Ritchie of Cortland and Christine Body of Oswego.

Body joined other UUP advocates in calling for an increase in the state hospital subsidy, which faces an $18.5 million cut in the governor’s 2016-17 Executive Budget.

UUPers also called for changes to protect teacher preparation programs.

“The numbers of students enrolled in teacher education programs declined by 40 percent between 2008 and ’13,” UUP VP for Academics Jamie Dangler said. “Teacher shortages are already happening.” She urged lawmakers to adopt UUP’s Recruiting and Educating Teachers for All program (RETA), which would provide assistance for would-be teachers from underrepresented groups to help them complete the requirements for a teaching degree.

UUPers have several more advocacy days planned before the April 1 budget deadline to press the union’s legislative agenda. Click HERE to register to attend a UUP advocacy event.

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