State Senator Patty Ritchie met with SUNY Potsdam Interim President Dr. Dennis Hefner as well as students and staff from the college recently in Albany.
A member of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee and a SUNY Potsdam graduate herself, Senator Ritchie has been a strong advocate for the state’s public education system, including the four colleges located in the district she represents.
Votes NO on Nominees; Backs Reforms in Wake of Flawed ‘Common Core’ Rollout
State Senator Patty Ritchie today voted to oust members of the Board of Regents, citing the flawed rollout of the state’s new Common Core educational standards, and announced support for legislation to increase accountability of the education policy-setting board to students, parents and taxpayers. Senator Ritchie voted to reject the reappointments of three current Regents, James Cottrell of Brooklyn, Wade Norwood of Rochester, and Christine Cea of Staten Island. A fourth Regent, James Jackson of Albany, who served on the board since 2011, abruptly withdrew his name from consideration. “The flawed roll-out of Common Core has created anxiety for students, parents and teachers from every corner of New York, and a resulting outpouring of protest from all across Central and Northern New York,” Senator Ritchie said. “Every single parent, student and educator who has contacted me about Common Core has demanded change from the Board of Regents, and with my vote today I am joining my voice with theirs in calling for increased accountability and reform.”
Plan Also Boosts College Aid to Help Families Struggling with Tuition Costs
New York’s schools would receive $812 million more in state aid, and the aid-cutting “Gap Elimination Adjustment” (GEA) would be eliminated over two years, under the Senate’s new budget plan that also boosts aid for middle class families struggling to pay college tuition costs.
The bipartisan Senate plan (R.4036) includes $541 million in “GEA restoration”—$200 million more than proposed by the Governor, and five times the increase recommended by the Assembly.
Eliminating the aid-cutting GEA was listed as a top priority of school officials in this year’s budget.
“The GEA was a budget gimmick imposed before I joined the Senate, and one that disproportionately punishes rural schools,” Senator Ritchie said. “Eliminating the GEA and getting a fair share for our schools and taxpayers has been a priority for school officials, as it has been for me, and this plan drives more funding to the classroom, and gets us closer to our goals.”
Senator Patty Ritchie is backing a plan to boost aid to local libraries. The State Senate’s budget plan, approved Friday, includes $8 million in increased aid for libraries. If enacted in the final budget, it will be the fourth year in a row that library aid was increased.
“Our Central and Northern New York public libraries serve an important role, not only as centers of learning and entertainment, but also as vital community centers,” said Senator Ritchie, who serves as a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Libraries.
The Senate’s budget restores a proposed $4 million cut to libraries, and adds an additional $4 million. The Assembly plan would cut aid to libraries by $2 million.
Students, Taxpayers Gain from Plan That Also Reforms ‘Common Core’
State Senator Patty Ritchie today announced that the new State Budget adds $20 million in new funding for schools in the 48th Senate District, which includes Jefferson, Oswego and part of St. Lawrence Counties—the largest hike in five years and nearly three times the increase proposed in January by the Governor for North Country and Central New York schools.
Jefferson County’s public schools will receive $8.7 million in additional aid, Oswego County schools will receive $5.4 million, and 12 districts in St. Lawrence County that are included in Senator Ritchie’s Senate district will receive $6.1 million additional.
“Students, teachers and taxpayers depend on the state for aid to maintain the high quality of public education and to help hold the line on our school property taxes,” Senator Ritchie said.
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced the new State Budget includes significant support for local libraries and rejects the Governor’s $4 million cut to library funding while increasing funding for libraries across New York State by $1 million over last year’s budget.
“As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Libraries, I have been working hard to make sure our libraries can continue to provide educational opportunities, family friendly entertainment, job-searching tools and of course, plenty of books,” said Senator Ritchie.
“Supporting our libraries is critically important, and I’m thrilled that this vital funding was included in the State Budget so our libraries—which in many regions, are the centers of communities—can provide the services taxpayers rely on.”
New Presidents on Tap for Potsdam and Canton Colleges
I want to welcome Zvi Szafran and Kristin Esterberg, the newest leaders of our SUNY colleges, to the North Country. Both were named today to lead the Canton and Potsdam campuses, respectively.
SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam are unique hubs of learning, job creation and growth in Northern New York, each with its own unique strengths, specialties and personality. Ensuring that each has its own independent leader was crucial to preserving both the tradition of these two campuses, as well as ensuring their future growth and success.
That’s why I joined with members of the community to insist that both campuses retain their independent leadership. I am looking forward to working with the new leaders of both colleges to ensure that each institution can continue to offer the world-class academics and programs that help set students on the pathway for future success.
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced she is now accepting nominations for her “Golden Apple” Award for Teaching Excellence, an honor designed to recognize teachers who go above and beyond to help students succeed.
“Throughout our region there are countless educators who are impacting young lives by enabling students to achieve success each and every day,” said Senator Ritchie.
“Whether it’s making learning fun and exciting or putting in that extra time to make sure a struggling student succeeds, so many teachers go above and beyond to inspire those they educate. I’m thrilled to once again have this opportunity show my appreciation and support for all they do.”
Last year, Senator Ritchie honored more than 40 educators from Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties for their dedication and commitment to education.
RITCHIE TO HONOR 65 EDUCATORS WITH GOLDEN APPLE AWARD
Honorees to be Recognized at Friday Event in Pulaski
In recognition for their dedication to brightening the futures of students in the Central and Northern New York regions, State Senator Patty Ritchie will award 65 local educators with her Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence.
Educators receiving the award include those who dedicate their lives to working with students with special needs and individuals who ignite a passion for learning in those they teach to those who have made headlines for safeguarding students and educators who have overcome major challenges to pursue their careers.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, we can all remember a teacher who has made a lasting, significant impact on our life,” said Senator Ritchie.
“That’s what this event is all about—recognizing educators for going above and beyond to make a difference in those who they teach. I’m pleased to recognize these 65 educators for dedicating themselves not only to their careers, but more importantly, to the students they influence each and every day.”