Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Melinda Person, President of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) visited both South Seneca Central School District campuses to help shed light on “the South Seneca story,” including what the district excels at, and what it is proud of. 

Those things are especially important and relevant at the moment, as South Seneca currently stands to be one of the hardest hit schools in the governor’s most recent budget proposal to cut Foundation Aid to schools.

Senator Tom O’Mara was in attendance as he is a legislator for the district’s area, and the district needs his support to get the district funded adequately.

South Seneca Special Education Teacher Heather Goldberg said the visit was extremely welcomed, and went as well as the district hoped it would.

“This was a very exciting day at South Seneca, as we were able to share some of the amazing programs, activities, spaces, and course offerings available to our students,” Goldberg said.  

“I was recently in Albany for Lobby Day at the Capitol, where we met with legislators about this very issue. We’re hopeful that by elevating the unfairness of the governor’s proposal to do away with the Save Harmless legislation, and the potential for a devastating impact on the South Seneca Central School District if the cuts go through, that we can impact the outcome of voting on this issue.”

South Seneca Superintendent Steve Parker Zielinski echoed Goldberg’s thoughts on this matter, and NYSUT and AFT’s timely visit.

“I am extremely grateful to the South Seneca Teachers Association leadership for arranging this visit from NYSUT and AFT to advocate for our district,” Zielinski said. 

“As everyone understands by now, the Governor's proposal to end Save Harmless – and to actually decrease foundation aid for a High Needs district like South Seneca-- was both unexpected and extreme. If it is adopted into the official state budget without revision, it would be devastating for our programs,” he added.

“Thank you to our own in-district school community members,” he continued, “for participating in the visit to highlight our programs, and to Senator Tom O'Mara for attending himself. In our meetings, both Senator O'Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano have assured us they understand the urgency of this issue in this year's budget, and we are hoping to see support for preserving Save Harmless reflected in the one-house budgets on their way in the next week.”

You can read more about NYSUT’s visit to South Seneca on their website here: https://www.nysut.org/news/2024/march/south-seneca