ALBANY – On Thursday, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) held a "Fund Our Futures" event at West Capitol Park in Albany. The event featured teachers, students, parents, and union representatives who are lobbying to have the 20 percent state aid cuts restored.
The event took place in front of 500 empty chairs, each representing 20 potential laid off educators state wide over the next month.
Representing the Norwich City School District, Norwich Educators' Organization Union President Eric Cunningham discussed the impact the cuts have already had on the district.
"Approximately 6,500 residents call Norwich home. We are also the largest city in the entire county. Our school district has approximately 1,700 students in grades K through 12. We have a combined wealth ratio of .465 meaning that our community has less than fifty percent of the average wealth of a school district in New York State. This makes us highly reliant on state aid to keep everything running. So what does a 20 percent state aid cut look like to us? We're loosing 6 million dollars out of our 42 million dollar budget," said Cunningham.
According to Cunningham at the end of the 2019-2020 school year Norwich school had approximately 320 employees. In the first round of layoffs the school district cut approximately 50 of those positions.
"That was just the first of three rounds of cuts that will be happening if nothing changes. We could be looking at reducing upwards of 150 positions all together which would be nearly one half of our staff," said Cunningham.