Updated 03/12/2013 10:51 PM
Rally for Education in Geneseo
School districts across the region are voicing concerns about state aid funding cuts. A rally for education took place Tuesday night at the Geneseo Central School District Auditorium.
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"I personally have seen the loss and threatened loss of very good caring teachers and, there's a lot of differences in between the classes and types of things offered at my school versus schools such as Pittsford Mendon and other schools," said Aidan Sullivan.
Sullivan is a sophomore at Caledonia-Mumford High School. He says through the years, he's noticed the impact budget cuts have had on his school.
"The limitations in AP classes that I've seen. Our school only offers four AP classes versus other school less than 20 miles away that offer 22."
He and hundreds of others who gathered to talk about their concerns hope state leaders are listening.
"With less money, there's less funding for teachers number one, which means bigger class sizes. The kids, it is harder for them to learn in those big class sizes. Also, the availability of more programs for our special needs children, even the extracurricular programs for our kids too," said Michelle Restivo, Batavia teacher.
This educational forum, titled "Your Schools in Fiscal Peril" was made up of 37 rural and low-wealth districts across the Wayne County and Finger Lakes region. Some of them say 70 percent of their district revenue depends on state aid.
"It's time to speak up. It's late in the game," said Dr. Michael Glover, District Superintendent, Genesee Valley Educational Partnership.
Some of these leaders say statewide, these districts have lost $6 billion in state aid the past three years.
"Of the 22 school districts in my BOCES, not one of them is back to the level of state aid funding that they had in 2008-09. Collectively, they've lost 500 positions in the last four years," Glover said.
They believe one solution to their financial crisis is a fair distribution of funds.
"What we need is a new foundation aid and a new formula. Something we can say it does two things: it's equitable, it's distributed equitably and it's sufficient to meet the mission of school districts," said Dr. Rick Timbs, executive director, Statewide School Finance Consortium.
Educators are encouraging the community to reach to their state lawmakers and lobby for their districts.