We the undersigned formally oppose Governor David A. Patterson's proposed budget cuts to the New York State Theatre Institute (NYSTI). We implore you to restore State funding to NYSTI, which has served our children so well for nearly 36 years! The Governor proposal will cut NYSTI%u2019s budget in half and after that he wants to give nothing for education and the arts at NYSTI that have touched so many kids over the years.
As an educational institution, NYSTI%u2019s use of Arts in Education has proved to be innovative and enduring. NYSTI%u2019s mission has always been to integrate the actions of creative drama, arts-based curricula and theater convention into experiences aimed at developing a child%u2019s imagination, awareness of self and others, as well as aesthetic taste and life skills. NYSTI%u2019s unique approach has allowed teachers and students to explore drama as a mode of learning, in turn allowing them to gain a better appreciation of the material through their own individual experience of it.
In addition, by engaging with one another, students utilize skills that are vital to communication and interpretive skills in the school setting. Often these goals are achieved through the examination of a particular theme or topic within NYSTI Productions through classroom exercises, which contributes to critical thinking about the world in which we live. By providing structures and contexts, which both excite the interest of participants and call for creative problem solving, NYSTI%u2019s Educational Programs promote a deeper thinking about a wide variety of issues.
As part of his 2010-11 Executive Budget proposal, Governor Paterson submitted draft legislation (Part D, Sections 1-5, A.970/S.6607) to amend and/or repeal portions of the statute establishing the NYS Theatre Institute Corporation in 1992, which has jurisdiction and control of the NYS Theatre Institute (NYSTI). The bill seeks to weaken and water down the Legislature%u2019s intent to make NYSTI a strong independent entity for education and the arts. The bill would force the NYS Theatre Institute Corporation Board of Directors, unpaid volunteers appointed by the Governor, to raise private funds to pay for State employees and the NYSTI program without any State financial support. In addition, NYSTI and its Board would continue to be subject to all New York State Public Authority rules and regulations and other State statutory requirements.
These cuts must not happen and the amendments in Sections 1 through 5 in Part D of A.9707/S.6607, which significantly change the intent of the Legislature, should be rejected by the Legislature.
Thank you for your time and we look forward to your support.