Today’s news:

Plan to save arts education in District 18

School District 18’s Community Education Council (CEC) is fighting to save arts programs.

The council, which advocates for public schools and parents in Canarsie and East Flatbush, has launched a campaign encouraging parents and the public to fill out and mail postcards to Albany officials.

“We need signatures from parents,” CEC President James Dandridge explained at the council’s meeting last week, which was held at the District 18 office on East 95th Street.

“They continue to cut our arts programs. We don’t feel that the children are being educated as a whole,” he continued. “We want New York State government to provide arts education.”

As the economy faltered, Mayor Michael Bloomberg cut millions of dollars from public schools’ budgets. With less money, principals limited or eliminated after-school programs, professional development for teachers and other services for students and staff.

State Assemblyman Alan Maisel recently predicted another round of budget cuts.

“As of December, the state of New York will be broke,” Maisel said. “A lot of people are going to be upset because there’s going to be across the board cuts.”

That would include health care and education, he said.

In the face of additional cuts, District 18’s CEC hopes the letter writing campaign will keep art and music programs alive.

“We want to see that the monies that are sent down from Albany go where they need to go,” Dandridge said.

To obtain flyers and postcards for the CEC’s campaign, contact the council at 718-566-6037.

This is not the first anti-budget cut campaign. More than 2,600 protest letters from parents in Bensonhurst and Gravesend were recently sent to Governor David Paterson.

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