NYSSSA needs your help! The State Division of the Budget has informed the program office that it must immediately begin retrenchment for next summer’s program, with a 50% reduction in funding. This means that at least four of the eight schools will have to be closed. Since auditions have already been held and students selected and notified, this will be devastating news for many of our most promising young artists. The State Legislature and the Office of the Governor have supported NYSSSA for 39 years because they have heard from thousands of parents, students and arts supporters.
If you would like to help restore the NYSSSA schools, please tell our leaders. A sample letter for leaders in the State Legislators and the Office of the Governor is included below, as well as a link to find your local legislators.
I am writing to ask you to help restore full funding authority for the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA). For 39 years NYSSSA has served students from every area of the State who represent New York’s economic, cultural and racial diversity, identifying tomorrow’s leaders in the arts and providing them with intensive pre-professional training and career development opportunities. Over 19,000 students have participated in this legislative initiative. The program’s success has been demonstrated by former students’ achievements with top professional companies all over the world and individual testimonials documented in yearly alumni surveys.
The State Division of Budget has advised the NYSSSA office that funding has been reduced by 50% and that the program office must begin planning immediately for retrenchment for the coming year. This means that the NYSSSA will have to close at least 4 of the 8 schools this coming summer. The NYSSSA program office has requested approval of a spending plan of $1,745,000 – representing a 0% increase from the 2008-09 plan. In the past 39 years, there have been very few increases in funding from the State. The cost of operating the eight NYSSSA schools is shared by State revenue funding and student tuition. The unique partnership between the State, New York’s most prominent artists, artistic companies and cultural institutions, and parents has kept program costs to a minimum. NYSSSA continues to ensure that the programs are still accessible to all New York State students, as per the original legislative intent.
I urge you to restore funding authority to NYSSSA to ensure the operation of all eight schools. The program’s funding needs are modest compared to other State initiatives and the return on our tax dollar is great, developing tomorrow’s leaders in the arts and entertainment industry.
New York State Legislative Leaders:
Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari CanestR@ assembly.state.ny.us
Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver Speaker@assembly.state.ny.us
Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos email@example.com
Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco TediscJ@assembly.state.ny.us
Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chair — Herman D. Farrell, Jr. FarrelH@assembly.state.ny.us
Senate Finance Chair Carl Kruger firstname.lastname@example.org
Assembly Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan NolanC@ assembly.state.ny.us
Senate Education Committee Chair Suzi Oppenheimer email@example.com
Search for your area legislators http://nymap.elections.state.ny.us/nysboe/
Governor Paterson: http://22.214.171.124/govemail