(Cooperstown, NY) – On Monday, July 12, New York State Senator Shelley B. Mayer, Chair of the Education Committee, received the State Leader of the Year Award from the Rural Schools Association of New York State at their annual summer conference.
Senator Shelley B. Mayer said: “I’m honored to be the Rural Schools Association’s Leader of the Year. I remain committed to providing all children in New York State with a quality education, regardless of geographic location, and working with the Rural Schools Association to address funding, recruiting and retaining educators, and access to broadband.”
Under the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Mayer and her colleagues obtained a transformational state education budget that finally acknowledged districts were owed full funding under the state's Foundation Aid Formula and began the final payout of these funds. In addition, the budget provided for school districts to have direct receipt of millions of federal dollars through the two latest COVID relief bills. With these funds, schools will be able to provide services to help children recover emotionally and educationally from the loss of in-person learning during COVID.
Rural Schools Association of New York State Executive Director David Little said: “Senator Mayer was responsible for raising the visibility of the inadequacy and inequity of funding in New York State through public forums and tireless efforts behind the scenes at the legislature that resulted in the historic commitment to fully funding Foundation Aid in our schools. Without her efforts, we would certainly be facing another year of inadequate funding and so the Rural Schools Association is thrilled to be able to recognize that level of devotion to our state’s children.”
The Rural Schools Association is a member-driven organization that represents the interests of small and rural school districts of New York State including funding, enrollment, and economic stagnation. Additionally, it seeks to educate leaders on the impact of proposals and methods to improve educational opportunities in rural communities.
The theme of this year’s conference was Resilience, Recovery, Resurgence: Resetting the Rural Reality with breakout sessions on the COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery.