Unionized school teachers in the New Paltz district were joined by congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout as they ramped up their efforts to reach a contract agreement with a public march along Main Street in late afternoon on May 18. A stream of teachers and supporters in bright red T-shirts marched along the sidewalks from the middle school down to the Chestnut Street intersection, carrying signs echoing their frustration over the long negotiations. Other signs asked for supportive honks, of which there were plenty.
Before they began their march, Teachout told the crowd that education is the “infrastructure of democracy,” and needs to be properly funded. She later said that she’s seen a tremendous amount of budget stress on schools throughout the congressional district.
Union president Arielle Chiger said that marching the day after the budget vote was to make sure it didn’t impact that important vote. The informational leaflets members handed out as they walked begins with a thank you to community members for that “strong support.” However, the contract is fast approaching 700 days overdue.