Area education advocates and some Rochester City School students rallied in Albany Wednesday for the cap on state school aid to be removed.
East High School students joined more than 700 participants in the "Educate NY Now" bus tour to the state Capitol. They called on Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to stop what they call “deep cuts” in state funding that forces school districts to cut programs and teaching jobs. Governor Cuomo increased school aid in his last budget by $805 million, but some education advocates say that's not enough to make up for what's been lost in previous years.
Alexei Bailey is a 10th grader at East High and a participant in the school's Teaching and Learning Institute. She said there will be repercussions if the state continues to cut funding to districts in need like Rochester.
"People would just stop caring," Bailey said. "They wouldn't bother coming to school because what do they need? It's not going to provide them with what they need to succeed in life so they'd probably think, like, what's the point," said Bailey.
Bailey plans to pursue a teaching degree when she graduates. She said she fears that when she becomes an educator, students won't have the resources they need to be successful because of continuing cuts to programs like music and gym.
Daniel Delehanty is Bailey's teacher at East High's Teaching and Learning Institute. He said if the state doesn't deliver on its guarantee of a "sound and basic education" it's going to end up as a state of the "haves and have-nots."
"In the Northeast, New York State is number one when it comes to segregation by race and by socio-economic class," Delehanty said. "And so the needs of the urban districts are only going to continue to grow without a significant structural change," said Delehanty.
The "Educate NY Now" campaign is calling on the Governor and elected officials in Albany to live up to a 2007 agreement to adequately fund schools.