Activists call on Paterson to scrap religious school cuts

Bronx students and parents joined New York Archbishop Cardinal Edward Egan Friday in calling on Gov. David Paterson to revoke budget cuts for religious and independent schools.

During a meeting at Our Lady of Assumption in the Bronx, parents and religious leaders said they are concerned that the students will suffer if the proposed cuts go into effect.

Under Paterson's budget plan, the Mandated Services Reimbursement Program will be cut to 92 percent, which means that independent schools will not be reimbursed 100 percent for the cost of providing educational services.

According to religious leaders and parents, there are marked differences in education funding in New York. They say while independent schools teach 20 percent of students in the city, they only receive 1 percent of state funding.

Activists add that public schools receive $1,700 per student, while independent schools get only $300. They say if the proposed cuts go into effect, the inequity in funding will eventually lead to bankruptcy for many independent and religious schools.

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