After controversies concerning higher education, one group is calling on university officials and legislators by protesting austerity measures for Vermont’s education system as a whole.
“We are demanding alternatives to the austerity measure being imposed by administrators statewide,” said member of UVM United Against Cuts Rachel Montesano.
On Thursday, a conference put on by UVM United Against Cuts brought together faculty, staff, students, and community members to protest current education measures. UVM United Against Cuts is a group that was formed in response to UVM budget cuts that the group sees as harmful. Recently, UVM executives announced more than 70 faculty members will have their teaching and pay cut by 25%.
“This comes at a time when we will mostly likely be called to work in difficult and shifting circumstances again in the fall,” said UVM Lecturer and member of United Academics Brad Bauerly.
Baurely, a professor of Political Science at UVM said these cuts should be taken from higher paid administrators.
“For example, 8% cut to the top 72 salaries generates just as much while leaving most of these earners in the top two percent of Vermonters,” said Bauerly.
Educators of all levels said they are standing in solidarity.
“As a group we are united in our opposition to any cuts that harm students, learning conditions, and workers living and working conditions,” said Middle School Teacher Isaac Kreisman.
According to Kreisman, cutting funding for k-12 education was on Governor Scott’s agenda before the pandemic even started.
“Now as always, there are alternatives to austerity, said Kreisman. “First we can raise funds by restoring taxes on the wealthy.”
Early childhood educators also called on Governor Scott for more resources regarding the June 1st opening of childcare facilities. Preschool Teacher Natalie Stroud said her students will need more trauma resources after dealing with the pandemic.