Parents, students, school officials and community groups in Rochester are asking for the city school district to be fully funded in the next state budget. Organizers from Citizen Action of New York are leading the effort by encouraging personalized letters and holiday cards to state lawmakers.
The state education department said the Rochester City School District is owed $86 million in state funding and Mercedes Phalan from Citizen Action said those funds would help bridge the district’s $65 million budget gap.
“Local and state politics do affect one another and we need to not only be advocating on a local level but on the state level when it comes to these issues,” said Phalan. “If we had the $86 million instead of cutting services for students we would not even be worrying about this budget deficit.”
The Alliance for Quality Education says districts large and small are owed nearly $4 billion in state aid. The letter writing effort is a statewide initiative by Citizen Action of New York.
Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade is lobbying the state for more funding, but in order to close the budget gap, the district is cutting programs and staff.