Schools: State funding not enough

Posted at: 04/06/2014 6:45 PM
Updated at: 04/06/2014 11:09 PM

Schools are not getting the money they need. How is it affecting kids in Rochester?

School districts across the state are struggling to provide a quality education with limited funding. As part of the newly passed budget, the state will soon be giving schools more money, but is it enough?

News10NBC spoke with a lot of people who are very passionate about this. People at the Interfaith Impact of New York State said that state aid falls far short of what schools need. Thanks to the budget, more money will be coming in. But this new wave of revenue doesn't make up for all the state funding that schools in Rochester have been missing out on for years.

Providing a quality education with limited funding is what school districts across the state are facing with. Thanks to the new budget, districts will soon see an increase in aid. Officials say it is not enough. After years of gap elimination adjustment, schools haven’t had the money they need.

Dr. Kevin McGowan, Brighton Central Schools Superintendent, said, “It certainly can affect opportunities for children and it can affect what districts are able to provide. Districts will have to look very hard at the non-mandated type of programming.”

Experts in the field of education discussed the problems and possible solutions at a meeting of the Interfaith Impact of New York State. The focus was on urban education and poverty in Rochester City Schools.
Rev. Dr. Michael Ford, Lake Avenue Baptist Church, said, “Honestly, I think the biggest hurdle to overcome is the negative rhetoric that takes place. I think anytime people speak about the Rochester City School District, about public education in Rochester, they're so overwhelmed by the negativity that they can't see the possibility.”

Officials say a big problem in Monroe County is concentrated poverty within some school districts.

Elizabeth Laidlaw, Urban Ed. Presbyterians, said, “It's very difficult to de-concentrate poverty if you're at 88 percent. I mean, there's nowhere to go. There's no way to de-concentrate poverty. So of necessity we have to get very creative in this county about how we could achieve that goal.”

Dr. Leonard Brock, Education Executive, Children’s Agenda, said, “We have to look at it in terms of a 13 to 20 year strategy as opposed to a one to three year change.”
The goal of Sunday's discussion was to open up a dialog and send a message to Albany. A lot of the talking points, concerns, and ideas will be passed on to lawmakers.

The Interfaith Impact of New York State tackled a number of issues Sunday, from limited funding to the role of poverty in the classroom. Education was the topic of the meeting, but the focus was on urban education and poverty in Rochester City Schools.

With schools not getting the funding they say they need and urban districts struggling with poverty, it's a deep rooted problem that is only made worse by inaction.

The panel knows education and the hardships Rochester schools face. All three of the panelists work with children in public schools. They were there to discuss how poverty affects learning and how less money from the state limits opportunities in the classroom. With questions and ideas from a packed room of passionate residents, it was a chance to start a much-needed dialogue and prompt action.

Dr. Leonard Brock, Executive Ed. Initiatives, Children’s Agenda, said, “Having these dialogues, these conversations about poverty and urban education, it's not a new conversation. What has happened was the evolution of the conversation, but the activity is very scant. So what I’m hoping is that we'll start to get more boots on the ground.”

In order to improve education with less funding from the state, experts say we need to get creative and collaborate. Other problems like children going to school hungry or not having the support they need at home. These are things we could start to change if we simply address them.