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Trimming SUNY budget hurts public schools

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The Sunday edition of the Times contained two articles about the State University of New York that provide important information. I am concerned about the reduction of SUNY Potsdam’s budget by 21.6 percent.

SUNY Central has imposed this cut. Obviously it is attempting to assist the research institutions (Albany, Stony Brook, Buffalo and Binghamton) in becoming elite research entities. I am sure they are looking west at the California public system with its four elite campuses headed by Cal Berkeley. The Cal system is outstanding in the area of research.

SUNY Central seems enamored with the Cal system, but it is doing it at the expense of our “comprehensive colleges” such as SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton.

This has serious ramifications for our supply of elementary and high school teachers. We need them badly. We need an aristocracy of instruction rather than the present aristocracy of buildings. Underfinancing of the public school system is a very bad idea as our public schools supply us with our future doctors, lawyers and teachers. We should increase our financing of the public system. The lack of good teachers in the public system will be a disaster over time.

The special immigration laws for elite foreign students in the professions is an ominous sign we are failing our students, teachers and the public. Remember the Watertown public schools produced many elite students such as Dr. Toby Cosgrove, a cardiac surgeon and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic.

My bias toward public schools is personal. My mother taught in the public school system for many years. She took summer courses at SUNY Potsdam, received her bachelor’s degree at age 74 and finally retired at age 76.

George S. Sturtz

Alexandria Bay

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