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February 2019


Albany ask
Kevin Peterman


  NYSUT higher ed members advocating in Albany
FA President Kevin Peterman, fourth from right, was part of the NYSUT higher education team advocating for funding in Albany on February 11-12. From left are PSC CUNY President Barbara Bowen, FIT Vice President Ellen Goldstein, FIT Membership Director Felix Rivera-Perez, FIT Assistant Treasurer Deborah Payton-Jones, UCE FIT President Roberta Elins, NYSUT Director of Legislation Chris Black, Senator Toby Stavisky (Chair, Senate Higher Education Committee), FA President Kevin Peterman, NYSUT President Andrew Pallotta, NYSUT First Vice President J. Philippe Abraham and SUNY UUP President Fred Kowal.
(photo by Ned Hoskin)

On February 11 and 12, Grievance Officer Kevin McCoy and I went to Albany to advocate for additional state funding for community colleges. We met with all New York State assemblypersons and senators from Suffolk County.

In addition, along with Barbara Bowen of PSC CUNY, Fred Kowal of SUNY UPP and NYSUT President Andrew Pallotta, we met with leaders from the Assembly, the Senate and the governor's office to advocate for additional support for CUNY, SUNY and community colleges.

We asked for their support in a new SUNY funding formula which will allow for modest consistent increases in FTE funding.

We also advocated for additional aid for campus child care centers and an exemption from the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax (MCTMT) also known as the MTA Tax. Currently the college is required to pay .34 percent (.0034) of its payroll to subsidize the MTA. The annual cost to the college is close to ½ million dollars.

We are asking that community colleges be placed in the same category as public elementary and secondary schools, public libraries and BOCES. They are exempt from the MTA tax, and we believe the metropolitan community colleges should be as well.

FA President Kevin Peterman, New York State Senator
Jim Gaughran and FA Greivance Officer
Kevin McCoy met in Albany (photo by Ned Hoskin)

Our advocacy efforts were enhanced because we were joined by several college officials. Forty-four SCCC students had planned to join us (they were scheduled to leave at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning), but on Monday evening we decided to cancel the bus because we were concerned that the trip home on Tuesday might be treacherous and we did not want to risk it.

We are confident, however, that by working with the college we will achieve some benefits in the 2019-20 state budget which is due by April 1. Additional funding will help with our current budget issues.

Members often ask what they can do to help our current financial situation. Here's one quick and easy thing you need to do the help support our recent efforts. NYSUT has a link to a simple ask. With a few clicks, you can send a fax to your state assemblyperson and senator, asking them to support our issues.

Go to Support Vital Community College Funding on the NYSUT Member Action Center (MAC), fill in the forms and send. It's that easy! You can also download the MAC app to your phone or other mobile device and, once you fill out the form, it retains your information for easy activism on other issues that you care about as well.

And, yes, our elected representatives do pay attention to all of these faxes! Of course they realize it's a form letter—although you are encouraged to personalize each one if you choose—but the sheer volume of the faxes from NYSUT members across the state absolutely gets noticed.

Advocacy works!