WXXI Local Stories
Mon September 26, 2011
Rally For Rural School Districts
By Carlet Cleare
Rochester, NY – Regional school officials are calling on New York lawmakers to change the state's formula for doling out funding to rural school districts.
The education leaders claim the money is being unfairly distributed between wealthy and poor districts, saying funding cuts had a larger impact on rural schools.
Doctor Rick Timbs, head of a consortium of more than 330 upstate school districts, says rural districts have been adjusting and making due for the past few years.
That's with draining financial reserves, cutting programs and teaching positions -- as state aid continued to shrink.
During an education rally over the weekend, Timbs says schools are now at a "funding cliff."
And he thinks in the 12 to 18 months, 100 school districts will enter structural deficit.
In the past two years, about 200 teachers have been chopped from schools in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming Counties.
Timbs says funding inequities combined with the enacted 2-percent property tax cap, and no financial relief from state mandates will threaten the survival of many schools.