Budget cuts are not uncommon for area schools. Educators from Genesee, Orleans and Monroe counties recently met with state leaders to talk about what can be done to help the future of their schools. YNN's Rose Eiklor has more.
Local superintendents and board of education members from various school districts met with Assemblyman Steve Hawley and State Deputy Secretary for Education De'Shawn Wright to voice their concerns about the disparity among New York schools.
"We felt heard," said Byron-Bergen superintendent Casey Kosiorek.
The meeting focused on many issues like the Common Core curriculum, new teacher evaluations and special education programs, but Kosiorek said all educators were in unison when asking for the removal of the gap elimination adjustment put in place by then-Governor David Patterson.
"Sixty-one percent of our operational budget depends on state aid, so by making up and balancing that budget, it has a direct negative impact on small rural public schools, so what happens is, that's the aid we don't get. Since 2010, our school district has not received close to $5 million worth of funds," said Kosiorek.
That has led to cutbacks.
"In the last three years, we have had to reduce close to 49 positions district-wide and for a small school with 104 faculty, 208 staff, that is a pretty drastic impact," said Kosiorek.
Kosiorek said he feels its important that Wright came to speak with Upstate educators because students should not have disadvantages due to where they live.
"It's not fair or equitable that just because our families are over here that they don't have the same opportunities they might in other parts of the state," said Kosiorek.
Assemblyman Hawley agrees with Kosioreks statement and said:
"The local education leaders in attendance did a terrific job of illustrating to Deputy Secretary Wright the need for equitable school aid regardless of geographic location or socio-economic status. The meeting helped make the point to the highest levels of the State Education Department that children in low-wealth school districts deserve the same opportunities as kids in wealthier areas."
Kosiorek said overall, the educators felt heard and plan to continue the conversation about removing the gap elimination adjustment with state leaders.