This week Governor Paterson withheld 10 percent of state payments to schools, hospitals, and municipalities because the state is broke and the legislature hasn’t done anything about it. The word has gotten around to towns and cities that this is real money we’re talking about here, and now education groups are suing Paterson.
The coalition of plaintiffs includes the New York State United Teachers union and various school professional groups, including the state Council of School Superintendents, whose president, L. Oliver Robinson, asks, “What do we say to our students? What do we say to our staff?” presumably when they ask to be taught or paid. (Robinson is also superintendent of schools in Shenendehowa, where a spirit of plucky, can-do volunteerism has apparently passed away.)
Paterson says these parties present themselves as “extra special interests” who cannot share the burden of state bankruptcy. “It’s clear to me they don’t care about anybody but themselves,” he says.
The legislature, which offered what Paterson considered an insufficient cut to the state budget deficit earlier this month, remains quiet.