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March 2018


F U = Fund Us!
Kevin Peterman


  K Peterman at higher ed lobby day
Second from left, FA President Kevin Peterman speaks with NYSUT leadership during this year's Higher Ed Advocacy Day in Albany. With Peterman are, clockwise from left, Chris Black, Alithia Rodriguez-Rolon, Andy Pallotta, Barbara Bowen and Fred Kowal. (photo by El-Wise Noisette, NYSUT)

Every winter, for what seems like forever, FA leadership has traveled to Albany to advocate for additional funding for community colleges.¬†Several years ago we teamed up with the college and had SCCC students and administrators join us in advocating for proper funding as per NYS Education Law §6304.

We did that again on February 28 and our students met with many Suffolk representatives, including Senate Higher Ed Committee Chair Ken LaValle and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. I met with the students and encouraged them to tell their stories. And that they did. Our students were fantastic, and I appreciate their efforts. They boarded the bus in the early morning hours and didn't return until late evening.

In addition FA officers Dante Morelli and Kevin McCoy visited every assemblyperson and senator from Suffolk County with a NYSUT Higher Education Budget Funding sheet and the FA's SCCC Fact Sheet to educate our state elected officials and advocate for SCCC.

The day before, on February 27, I was part of NYSUT’s leadership team representing community colleges. The team was led by NYSUT’s President Andy Pallotta, Director of Legislation Chris Black and Legislative Representative Alithia L. Rodriguez-Rolon. Representing CUNY's union was Professional Staff Congress (PSC) President Barbara Bowen and SUNY's union president from United University Professions, Fred Kowal.

We spent the day at the capitol and had individual meetings with Governor Cuomo's Director of Budget Robert Mujica; Senators Flanagan, Kline, Stewart-Cousins and LaValle; and from the Assembly, Heastie and Glick. We stressed the need for New York to finally start funding higher education. We asked for a substantial increase in funding and, while budgets are tight, we feel that there will be an increase in funding from the state for community colleges.

The NYS Budget is due April 1. So it won’t be long before we see how much of an increase in funding community colleges actually receive.

You can still help! Go to the NYSUT Member Action Center (MAC) and send a fax to your state senator and assemblyperson encouraging them to properly fund community colleges.

Thanks. Activism works!