Albany – Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (Brooklyn), was joined by the President of the United Federation of Teachers, Michael Mulgrew, the President of the Transport Workers Union, John Samuelsen and the President of the Central Labor Council, John T. Ahern to protest the proposed MTA budget cuts that would eliminate student Metro Cards. These proposed cuts would leave over 400,000 students in the city carrying the financial burden of transportation to and from school each day. “Our working and lower income families will not be able to absorb these additional costs, especially in the current depressed economic state we are in,” stated Ortiz.
Predictions of skyrocketing absentee rates have left parents, teachers, and legislators concerned. Without Metro Cards many students may be unable to afford the cost of traveling to school each day. These children will be left without an education and without a future. As the Assemblyman noted, 85% of public school children are minorities. “This cut is discriminatory in that it affects minority communities to a much higher degree. Everyone is entitled to an education, it should never become a privilege for those who can afford it,” said Ortiz, “We are standing here today to reject this cut to our children’s ability to obtain an education.”