A voter calling to ask City Council to eliminate the approximately $2 million of taxpayer funds allocated to support the JROTC program in NYC high schools.

Hon. Robert Jackson
250 Broadway
Rm. 1747
New York, NY 10007

Re: elimination of funding for JROTC in the FY 2011 budget

Dear Councilmember Jackson:

The undersigned organizations write to ask that in its response to the Mayor’s Budget, the New York City Council, led by its Education Committee which you chair,  eliminate the approximately $2 million of taxpayer funds that will be used to support the JROTC program in the FY 2011 budget for the Department of Education.  At a time when the Mayor’s Budget calls for the laying off thousands of teachers, New York City’s resource-starved educational system can find far better uses for $2 million of taxpayer money than supporting a program whose basic goal is to promote militarism and foster sending New York City youth to participate in illegal and immoral occupations abroad.

As the attached chart indicates, the Federal government is paying slightly less than half the costs, apparently including all the fringe benefits, of this program.  The reason that the Federal government is paying the 41 JROTC teachers their fringe benefits is because they are not employees of the NYC DOE, but rather employees of the Federal government.  We believe that this sets a dangerous precedent of having individuals who do not possess the requisite qualifications to be a teacher in the DOE, nor who are members of the UFT, engage in teaching.

But more importantly, JROTC should be just about the lowest priority for the NYC DOE in the current budget.  You know better than most how under-resourced the City’s schools have been and continue to be, whether it is for teacher salaries, textbooks, or full time kindergarten – the list of desperate funding needs is long, and growing.

The overwhelming majority of NYC taxpayers have no idea that they are funding JROTC, and we submit that if they were informed of this fact, they would act to oppose such funding.  We understand that the Mayor has included funding for JROTC in his proposed FY 2011 education budget.  The budgetary process allows the Council to make changes in the Mayor’s budget, and the undersigned organizations urge the Council to eliminate this tax levy item in its response to the Mayor’s budget.  This unnecessary subsidy towards militarism should have no place in City’s FY 2011 budget, and we ask that you and the Council act promptly to recover these funds for far more important educational priorities.

We look forward to your, and the Council’s, leadership on this significant educational issue. This letter is being delivered to Speaker Christine Quinn and to all Members of the City Council Education Committee.

May we please hear from you.

Barbara Harris

Barbara Harris, Chair Counter-Recruitment, Code Pink NYC Women for Peace
David Tykulsker, Vice-Chair, Brooklyn for Peace
Bob Keilbach, Secretary, Veterans for Peace, NYC Chapter 34
Alicia Godsberg, Executive Director, Peace Action New York State
Eva-Lee Baird, Granny Peace Brigade
Judith Le Blanc, National Field Director, Peace Action & Peace Action Fund
Henry Serrano, Senior Organizer, Voter Engagement Project Director,
Community Voices Heard
Rosemarie Pace, Director, Pax Christi Metro New York
Robert Jereski, Climate Action Group
Abby Scher, Chair, Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture Social Action Committee
Harry Bubbins, Friends of Brook Park
Judy Lear, Convener, Gray Panthers NYC Network
Joan Wile, Founder/Director, Grandmothers Against the War
Paul Corell, Coordinating Committee, The Park Slope Greens
Jim Moschella, War Resisters League NYC
Peg Rapp, Coordinator, The Washington Heights Counter Recruitment Group
Jackie DiSalvo, Emerita Associate Professor, Baruch College CUNY
Alice Slater, Coordinator, Abolition2000, New York Metro
Jim McCabe, Metro New York Progressive Democrats of America
Lillian Rydell, President, Westside Peace Action
Molly Klopot, Chair, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, NY Metro

cc:     Christine Quinn, Speaker
All members of City Council Education Committee

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