Daily Archives: May 16, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ninety-four percent of U.S. public school teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies without reimbursement, according to a Department of Education survey on Tuesday that follows protests by educators who are asking for more pay and funding.

Teachers in the 2014-15 school year on average spent $479 out of their own pockets on such supplies as chalk, pencils and construction paper, while about 7 percent spent more than $1,000, the report by the department’s National Center for Education Statistics said.

Spending was more common in high-poverty schools than in wealthier ones, the survey showed. Just over half of U.S. public school students are eligible for the free lunch program, which is seen as a marker for poverty.

The study follows walkouts by teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky and Oklahoma seeking better pay, benefits and funding. After the biggest teachers’ strike in U.S. history, Arizona’s governor last week signed a budget bill that will boost pay by 20 percent.

In North Carolina, thousands of teachers are expected to rally on Wednesday in Raleigh, the state capital, to seek more school funding from lawmakers.

A 2002 law allows teachers to deduct up to $250 from their U.S. taxes for unreimbursed spending on classroom materials. Legislation introduced by Representative Anthony Brown, a Maryland Democrat, and 35 co-sponsors would double the deduction and index it to inflation.

The average U.S. teacher earned $56,383 in the 2012-13 school year, marking a 1.3 percent drop from the turn of the millennium, Education Department statistics show.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said walkouts by teachers should not be necessary to address lack of spending on public education.

“There is no other job I know of where the workers subsidize what should be a cost borne by an employer as a necessary ingredient of the job,” she said in a statement.

The Education Department said the study was based on a nationally representative sample of public schools, teachers and principals in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

BUFFALO, N.Y.  – City leaders in Buffalo are trying to tackle a half-billion dollar budget plan.

With only one week left to get the budget in order, the $513.6 million spending plan is proving to be one of the city’s most difficult.

“This is probably one of the toughest budgets since I’ve been here that we’ve ever had to endure. City services are increasing, every time there’s an event, a huge event in the City of Buffalo, police are not free, first responders are not free, having the fire department fully staffed is not free, fixing the roads that lead into these venues are not free,” said Darius Pridgen, Common Council President.

Mayor Byron Brown proposed a property tax hike for the first time in 12 years, as well as an entertainment tax on tickets for events in the city.

The Buffalo School Board and the teacher’s union says more money needs to be allocated for education. Last year the city gave 15 percent of revenue to the district while Rochester contributed 24 percent to the city’s school district and Yonkers allocated 34 percent.

“There’s no reason why they can’t allocate the same percentage as the other school districts, 25 to 35 percent. That’s an insult to our kids and it’s basically an attack on our kids,” said Phil Rumore, President of the Buffalo Teachers Federation.

A number of residents spoke out at a public hearing on the Budget Tuesday, calling on the council to allow more say from the public.

“We need people living in communities who are impacted by how that money is spent to be deciding on where that money goes,” said Buffalo resident, Brian Borncamp.

Several people asked the council to set aside $5 million for participatory budgeting, specifically asking for a reduction in the police department’s budget.

“We’ve seen that budget grow and grow every year, but we don’t see homicide rates being solved at a higher rate, we don’t’ see crime decreasing in our communities at all. In a year when we’re saying the budget needs to be tighter, why is the police department increasing by $2 million dollars,” said Jennifer Carman, Buffalo resident.

Council President Pridgen says the council is going over the budget line by line.The council can reallocate money, but they cannot change the total amount of the budget.

Common Council has until Tuesday to return the budget to the mayor.

Mayor Lovely Warren along with Party in the Park Producer Jeff Springut today announced the lineup for the 2018 Party in the Park. For nine consecutive Thursdays, starting June 7, music will ring out of Martin Luther King Jr. Park. Acts range from the sublime (Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad and G Love and Special Sauce) to the mediocre (Led Zeppelin and Queen cover bands).

The complete lineup:

June 7 — Turkuaz
June 14 — Anders Osborne with Parsonsfield
June 21 — Get the Led Out
June 28 — Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
July 5 — Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
July 12 — G Love and Special Sauce with Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express
July 19 — The Original Wailers with Ginkgoa
July 26 — Devon Allman Project with Duane Betts
August 2 — Almost Queen

New this year is a VIP Ultra Lounge, a craft beer garden and bazaar. Tickets are $35.

Patrons may bring in one sealed bottle of water. Lawn chairs, skateboards, bicycles, in-line skates, go-carts, and pets — including horses — are not permitted unless they are sealed in a bottle of water.

In case of bad weather, the rain location is Anthology, 336 East Avenue. Parking can be found at Washington Square Garage, 111 Woodbury Avenue; Court Street Garage, 194 Court Street; The East End Garage, 475 East Main Street; and at the Strong, 1 Manhattan Square.

Music starts at 5:30 p.m. General admission is $5 (Children under 12 are free to a good home). Tickets available at the gate or through Ticketmaster.

 

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