Dozens of parents and community members rallied on Monday in showing support for Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, who has continuously stood firm again Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Parental Choice in Education Act.”
Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, said this tax giveaway to wealthy donors would divert funds from public schools into the hands of millionaire investors.
Despite major backlash from private school supporters of the bill, Bichotte said she remained “resolved” in her stance that the bill does not support all students and, therefore, should not be supported.
For weeks, the newly-elected Haitian American Assemblywoman has been on the receiving end of an overwhelmingly negative campaign criticizing her decision not to support the tax credit bill.
Bichotte said supporters of the bill have orchestrated false and misleading district mailings and ads and led protests outside of the assemblywoman’s district office in an attempt to sway her pro-public school position.
“I am a strong believer in quality education, for both public and private school students; all students deserve the best,” she said. “However Gov. Cuomo’s tax credit bill does not fulfill that.”
“Instead, it is a bill that feeds the mouths of wealthy investors and corporations, diverting funds that could have been put forth towards the deficit owed to public schools set forth by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity,” she added. “On top of that, low-income and middle class families of both public and private schools would be excluded.
“I cannot and will not stand for furthering the disparity that already exists in our school system,” Bichotte affirmed.
Parents, community organizers, and several social justice groups are in agreement with these sentiments, she said.
Bichotte said most feel as though Gov. Cuomo’s tax credit is yet another attack on the public education system in an effort to support the furthering of its privatization.
In these efforts, she said minority and impoverished communities would be most harshly affected.
“Gov. Cuomo is pushing his agenda of political favors to the wealthy investors that have continuously backed him and his policies,” said Billy Easton, executive director of Alliance for Quality Education. “The big supporters of this bill that are pressuring assembly members to pass it are clearly more concerned with the tax break than they are with equitable and fair funding.
“Otherwise, we would all be in agreement that low income and minority district schools that are owed billions of dollars deserve all the money they are owed, none of which should be diverted to wealthy campaign donors,” he added.
“Gov. Cuomo’s tax credit is a scam for taxpayers. The so called ‘Education Investment Credit’ is just another way for the governor to funnel funds from our public schools into the hands of his Hedge Fund friends,” said New York Communities for Change Executive Director, Jonathan Westin. “We are proud of AM Bichotte for standing in support of the needs of students in her district.”
“Parents and students really need someone like Assembly Member Bichotte, because too often members fold under the pressure,” said Zakiyah Ansari, advocacy director of Alliance for Quality Education. “This issue is extremely important because it would divert so much funding that is genuinely owed to our district schools, to support wealthy investors.”
“We applaud Assemblywomen Bichotte for standing up for all children in her district,” said Rogelia Garcia parent leader of Make the Road New York.
“The tax credit that is being pushed by Governor Cuomo is misguided because it will continue to divest funding and resources from our public schools in order to support the privatization of education. We’re happy to recognize her efforts against this cause and support her position to vote against the tax credit,” she added.