GENEVA- Continuing his efforts to ensure fair and equitable treatment for school districts in our region, State Senator Mike Nozzolio today hosted a forum on education where local school district leaders had the opportunity to discuss their budget concerns with the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Senator John Flanagan. Senator Nozzolio organized the summit with Senator Flanagan after numerous discussions over the past year with educators, parents, and school administrators throughout our region on important issues such as State aid for education and the need to remove unfunded mandates.
“This discussion will be tremendously useful to me over the coming weeks as my colleagues and I work to meet the challenges facing our local school districts,” said Senator Nozzolio. “The exchange of information and the dialogue which took place was incredibly positive and will be extremely helpful and effective in meeting the needs of our students’ education. I thank Senator Flanagan for taking the time to visit our region and actively listening to our schools’ concerns before the State budget negotiations begin.”
“As the Legislature and Governor Cuomo get ready to make decisions that will impact the educational future of children all across the state, it is important that we hear directly from the people who represent those children so their voices are heard in Albany. Senator Nozzolio understands how critical it is that every child in the Finger Lakes Region has the opportunity to a quality education. I appreciate his efforts to set up this meeting which will help ensure that a fair budget is enacted that makes the changes needed to provide educational opportunities for all students in our state,” said Senator Flanagan.
Over 130 school superintendents, board members, administrators and staff participated in the forum.
“I applaud Senator Nozzolio for sponsoring and hosting a forum where we could have a constructive exchange of thoughts regarding our concerns around the need for equitable school funding,” said Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES Superintendent Dr. Joseph Marinelli, who presented at the forum. “Getting to interact with Senator Flanagan was a great opportunity for us to share information with an incredibly knowledgeable leader in education policy. To know that he and Senator Nozzolio understand our issues and support education in our region is greatly reassuring.”
During last year’s budget negotiations, Senator Nozzolio fought to enable a 4 percent increase in funding for schools this year. The Executive Budget proposal recently unveiled by Governor Cuomo includes this funding- an increase of over $800 million in State support for education- with 76 percent of this increase allocated to high-need, low-wealth districts across the State. Senator Nozzolio, joined by several of his State Senate colleagues, also reached out to the Governor urging him to reform the school funding formula to ensure a more equitable distribution of aid to local schools.
“Through open discussions like today’s forum, I understand the challenges many of our local schools face in meeting the costs of providing a quality public school education,” said Senator Nozzolio. “I greatly appreciate the input of everyone who participated today and I will continue fighting to see these concerns addressed during the budget process.”