Today’s news:

Schools need a bailout, Owens declares!

Forget AIG −− give public schools a bailout.

“The banks are getting bailouts. Give us a bailout for our schools,” Major Owens, former congressman in the 11th Congressional District, asserted at a forum to discuss mayoral control.

Owens’ suggestion comes as public schools prepare for additional budget cuts.

“There are going to be budget cuts in September,” Judy Gerowitz, School District 21’s United Federation of Teachers (UFT) representative announced at last week’s meeting of the local Community Education Council (CEC).

“I’m hearing pretty high percentages that are going to be cut. I’m not going to tell you the numbers but they are scary,” she said.

When school budgets were slashed in recent years, principals cut back on art and music programs and, in some cases, increased class size. There will be more of the same if schools receive additional cuts from the city and state, Gerowitz warned.

“The [cuts] are going to affect our schools in terms of personnel or programs,” she said.

Gerowitz advised parents to attend meetings of the School Leadership Team (SLT) at their children’s schools to brainstorm ways to address the funding loss.

“They should be having discussions right now about the budget crisis,” she said. “Parents – I’m asking you to please speak up. It’s really important.”

Sending a message to city and state officials, Owens said, “Give us the money so class sizes do not increase. Show us that you really care about our schools.”

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