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Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone paid a visit to Albany today along with Yonkers Schools Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino calling on state legislative leaders to restore severe school funding cuts to Yonkers. They had a series of meetings with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Senator Jeff Klein, Senate Finance Committee staff and others.
Education funding for the state's fourth largest city was cut more than $20 million in the Governor's proposed budget. The budget adopted by the NY State Senate last week cut an additional $15 million in education funding which was taken from VLT(Video Lottery Terminals) revenue from the Empire City Cacino at Yonkers Raceway.
Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone was encouraged by the meeting, "Today we took some very important steps toward restoring the deep cuts made to Yonkers' education funding in the state budget. Although we are not all the way there yet, we gained commitments from key legislative leaders and have an agreement to work together to restore as much school funding as possible."
Said Amicone, "Specifically, our meetings with Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his staff were very productive and promising. Senator Skelos has a clear understanding of our city's and school district's needs and has agreed to work closely with us over the next couple of weeks to restore education funding cuts to Yonkers, mainly the much-needed VLT revenue we collect from Yonkers Raceway."
Last year, the Yonkers City School District was forced to cut 234 teachers. Another 439 were given an early retirement incentive. Amicone says unless changes are made with regard to state madates and the current cut in aid to the City, additional cuts in personnel and programs will be necessary.
State lawmakers have until April 1 to get a new budget approved.
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