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Hundreds rallied at Ellsworth Allen Park in Farmingdale Feb. 28, sending a strong message to Governor David Paterson to keep education aid in New York State's budget.

Members of the Sewanhaka Federation of Teachers rallied Feb. 28 at Ellsworth Allen Park in Farmingdale to fight Governor David Paterson's proposed multimillion-dollar education aid cuts to Long Island's schools. Photo by Scott Cushing
Back in December, the governor proposed multimillion-dollar cuts when he revealed his 2009-2010 executive budget. The decision is a difficult one, he said, particularly because he was one of the strongest advocates for increased education funding while serving in the state legislature.

"The grim reality of our current fiscal situation is that all areas of state spending will have to experience reductions. But I am assured in the knowledge that, even after these actions, New York will still have one of the best-funded education systems in the nation," the governor said in announcing the executive budget late last year.

State legislators, taxpayers, students, educators, small-business owners and labor leaders all took part in the rally, which attracted residents from all over Nassau County, including Elmont, Franklin Square, Floral Park, North Valley Stream and West Hempstead.

Assemblyman Tom Alfano said the rally was a success.

"We sent the message to the governor that we value our homes. We value our children. We value quality education. And, we will not stand for anything less than our fair share of school aid. The governor should listen very carefully to what the people said today. These are the people who are paying the taxes. They are working two, three or four jobs to meet the mortgage," the assemblyman said.

Alfano continued, adding, "Cutting our community's school aid now will have dire consequences that will devastate a generation of our young people. I didn't get into public service to help people to watch them suffer at the hands of bureaucrats who don't understand and seemingly don't care about the sacrifices that families and seniors make each and every day. Simply stated, Governor Paterson, fix your budget now."

A similar rally took place last year, which, Senator Carl Marcellino said proved critical in helping defeat cuts to Long Island's share of state education aid proposed by then-Governor Eliot Spitzer. "Last year, over 1,500 people from across the Island joined together to fight for our fair share and it worked," he said.


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