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Gillibrand supports $23 billion plan to retain teachers nationwide

By Mark Scott

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-904970.mp3

Buffalo, NY – Tuesday is the deadline for New York to submit its application for federal education funding from the President's Race to the Top program. Both houses of the State Legislature last Friday approved necessary changes -- including a bill to allow more charter schools -- that will give the state a better chance of securing the funding. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats in Washington are pushing for new federal spending that would prevent the layoffs of thousands of teachers nationwide.

New York is not alone when it comes to budget problems. States all across the nation are cutting their education spending. There are estimates as many as 160,000 teachers could lose their jobs. President Obama and Democrats in the House and Senate are scrambling to line up support for a proposal for $23 billion in federal aid to avert those layoffs. US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said teacher layoffs in New York could top 16,000.

"What that will mean is larger class sizes," Gillibrand said. "This $23 billion bill will fund teachers across the country."

Congressional Republicans oppose the measure. They describe the $23 billion program as another taxpayer-funded bailout that the federal government cannot afford.