Local legislators, school advocates call for more money

Posted at: 02/20/2013 2:56 PM
Updated at: 02/20/2013 4:25 PM
By: Bill Lambdin

ALBANY - Sara Niccoli is not happy with the reduced education her 4th grade daughter Olive is receiving in the Fort Plain district.

"The people who take care of my daughter every single day work so incredibly hard to make this thing work but it's not working," Niccoli told a news conference audience Wednesday.

Niccoli joined school officials and Democratic legislators from the Capital Region to warn the current school funding arrangement just isn't sufficient.

Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk is the former president of the Duanesburg School Board. 

"After making numerous administrative cuts, freezing or cutting salaries, negotiating cost reduction concessions from teachers unions, schools have no choice but to continue to make educational cuts -- cuts that are impacting our classrooms and our ability to get our kids ready for jobs and college," Tkaczyk said.

These complaints aren't new. For many years advocates have noted severe differences in educational offerings between high-wealth districts and average or poor districts.

The roughly $21 billion in state aid doesn't come close to evening out the differences.

In recent years the so-called  two percent property tax cap has further restricted school operations.

"Everyone is in a desperation mode," said Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Delmar.