Cuomo’s politics drive education spending priorities
Schenectady schools are facing a $10 million budget shortfall next year and are scrambling to cut programs. Just like last year, the year before, and the year before that.
Superintendent [Laurence] Spring discovered that under a formula for state aid ordered by the Court of Appeals, our district has only been receiving 54 percent of what we are entitled to, and being shortchanged by Albany to the tune of $62 million per year. Gov. Cuomo’s response, when this was brought to his attention a year ago, was a yawn and a plea of poverty. He has oh-so-graciously increased our state aid by 2.3 percent in his current budget proposal.
But don’t worry, the governor still cares about education. In fact, he’s pledged to rescue New York City’s charter schools now under attack by [Mayor] Bill DiBlasio; he’ll fund an extra year of schooling for every child in the state under a universal pre-K program; and he’ll pay for college for incarcerated felons. Tthis week the Legislature’s Hispanic caucus demanded $25 million in so-called “Dream Act” money to pay illegal aliens’ college, which I predict will be added to the budget.
So Andrew Cuomo apparently has untold millions to finance his personal political war with New York City’s mayor and to score political points with his base, but no money to comply with an order from the state’s highest court to provide our kids with the “sound, basic education” our state onstitution promises.
Shame on him. If any Schenectadians vote for him next time, shame on them.
Pass law to protect kids from chemicals
Shockingly, it is legal for children’s products such as dolls, baby car seats and clothing to contain toxic chemicals. Why aren’t there laws that ban the use of these chemicals?
There are too many loopholes in the FDA Toxic Substance Control Act passed in 1976. Although it was designed to protect people and the environment from harmful substances, over 62,000 chemicals were grandfathered in and assumed safe. Around 22,000 more chemicals have since been developed for use in products. It is currently not required for any new chemicals to be thoroughly tested for safety.
The state Legislature has the power to pass the Child Safe Products Act this session (S.4614 Boyle/A.6328 Sweeney). If passed, chemicals of high concern that are found in children’s products will be identified. From this list, a smaller list of priority chemicals of high concern will be identified. Manufacturers will need to report if these chemicals are present in children’s products and eventually eliminate the use of these products.
Consumers should not have to be on the lookout for [toxic] chemicals in products. Passing this bill will ensure consumer, employee, community and investor safety and confidence. This is our chance to be a part of chemical reform, protect children, and shift the market to use safer chemicals in products we use every day.
Act of kindness small, but oh so meaningful
I am a student at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. Recently some of the students and a sociology teacher, John van Bladel, promoted random acts of kindness week.
The committee came up with “Glove One Another Day.” Then we had to figure out where could we get dozens of gloves to promote this idea.
I started calling glove manufacturers in nearby communities. One call was to Swany Glove Co. in Johnstown. I did not expect to get a call back, but I did from a special person named Donna.
Donna did not hesitate to help our cause. In fact she provided us with more than what I was asking for. I explained to her what we were trying to promote at FMCC — such as civility and acts of kindness — and she was glad to help our cause.
There are still people who promote their own acts of kindness; Donna is one. All of us at FMCC who participated in Glove One Another Day want to say a great big thank you to Donna. Without people like her, civility and kindness would be nonexistent. Remember, the small things we do for others makes all the difference.
Sallie E. Curtis
Gov’t policies have us pretty well covered
Poor Wallace Hughes [March 9 letter] bemoaned the fact that federal policies are horrible and do not work.
I believe the policy that allows him to drive on federal highways from here to California works pretty well. Our Army, Navy, Air Force etc. work protecting his butt pretty well. EPA protects his water and food pretty well.
Small businesses can finally offer their employees affordable health insurance, with benefits that actually cover services. Plus Medicare works pretty well for our parents.
He must realize that red states led by Republican governors, like Texas for example, have the lowest high school test scores and the highest number of welfare recipients. Oh, yes, those red-state governors all have health insurance, but they are not allowing 5 million of their constituents to see a doctor!
Our health care system was not envied around the world; in fact it ranked 37th out of 190 countries. Chile beats the United States per the World Health Organization! Fortunately, many Americans will no longer be shut out of health insurance due to a pre-existing condition, etc. Medical bills are the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy.
Conservatives/Republicans like Mr. Hughes are oblivious to the eight years of trickle-down that didn’t trickle down, and how long it’s taking to clean up that mess.
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