Education advocates ask for equitable school funding

ALBANY, N.Y. – Snow and school delays didn’t stop hundreds of education advocates from storming the Capitol Steps in Albany on Monday.

The official Lobby Day on the Million Dollar Staircase centered around the fight for education fairness before the governor has put out his yearly budget.

“I feel short changed,” said Schenectady parent Jamaica Miles.

Miles is one of the hundreds braving the snow on Monday, lobbying for equality in schools across the state.

“My district does get less than other school districts in New York State, that there are districts that receive more than 100 percent of their funding, we receive about 54 percent,” she said.

The mother of three says she worries that the opportunity afforded to her 19-year-old currently enrolled in NYU, won’t be available for her youngest daughter, who is set to start pre-k next year.

“What are other students not going to have because of our budget?” asked Miles.

According to the superintendent of Schenectady Schools, his district is shorted about $60 million in school aid every year, forcing an elevated tax rate and a lot of cuts to student services.

“We’ve pared it back and kids aren’t getting anywhere close to what they should be getting,” said Superintendent Larry Spring.

Schenectady isn’t alone though, from Buffalo to Brooklyn to Utica, the Alliance For Quality Education says New Yorkers came to the Capitol to have their voices heard.

“Students who need the most support from the state need to be prioritized in the state budget,” said Jasmine Gripper with Alliance For Quality Education.

But in a statement the governor tells NEWS10 ABC:

“The fact is New York spends three times as much per pupil in high needs districts than it does on low needs districts, and that funding has only increased over the past four years.  It’s ludicrous that some special interests are seeking to create a false choice between closing the achievement gap between rich and poor districts and the Governor’s efforts protect taxpayers, while also injecting accountability and innovation into the system.”

But that response doesn’t sit well with Miles.

“We need to address the needs of all of our children and not just some,” she said.

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