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Rally calls on state leaders to release education funding

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Mike Desmond/WBFO News
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Public education supporters are back on their campaign to force Albany to provide the money called for in a court victory a decade ago. On Wednesday, some of those supporters rallied on the steps of City Hall.

 

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity won a court victory on how the state was supposed to provide a "sound, basic education." For two years, the extra money started to come in and then state revenue collapsed in the Great Recession. Not only didn't that money come in but Albany chipped away at the regular allocations, something only being reversed completely now, years later.

School board members and teachers say they are seeing the effects. Eve Shippens is on the local board of Citizen Action and is co-chairman of the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization. Shippens saw the impact two years ago when teaching a class of 31 students.
      
"I use the analogy it's like watching popcorn. I have 40 minutes to get you in, get you settled down, get you to work and then by the time the general directions are done then that's less than a minute per child to help them on individual issues that may arise and that's just not fair," Shippens said.

Not only are there issues of class size which the district is trying to deal with, up to third grade classes, but there are also shortages of computers to help Buffalo kids compete with suburban kids.

"Our school needs more resources," said Ina Ferguson, PTO President at MST at Seneca. 

"And, I'm not talking about raising the paychecks, I'm talking about having the resources, having books, having laptops, having that technology and the advanced stuff they need to be successful in the 21st Century."

Supporters believe city of Buffalo schools are in line for an additional $95 million this year.

 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.