For Immediate Release:
Contact: Rosemary Rivera, Organizing Director
The Alliance for Quality Education and Metro Justice recognized Senator Ted O’Brien and Assemblyman Harry Bronson as Champions of Public Schools
Release of Data Shows that Senator O’Brien Delivered
$10.3 Million More in School Aid
ROCHESTER (October 14, 2014) – The Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) and Metro Justice joined members of the community on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at Sully Public Library to honor Senator Ted O’Brien and Assemblyman Harry Bronson for their work on behalf of public schools.
Parents, teachers, students and community members took part in the event that named both Senator O’Brien and Assemblyman Bronson as Champions for Public Schools. Organizers also released data showing how Senator O’Brien fought the Senate Republicans earlier this year to win $10.3 million more in aid for public schools in his district. Of that extra funding, Rochester schools received $6.2 million. In the Assembly Harry Bronson fought to increase school funding and Rochester has $42 million more because the Assembly’s efforts.
Senator O’Brien’s efforts not only benefited his district, but added $6.7 million to the 54th district and $11.1 million to the 56th district.
The event also launched the Alliance for Quality Education’s #WeCantWait Campaign that demands that the state comply with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, a court order calling for equality in funding schools. The campaign, a social media effort, draws attention to the problem of chronic underfunding of public schools. Parents, students, elected officials and community members are posting “selfies” on Twitter and Facebook with signs identifying the reasons their schools need sufficient funding.
This is a vital issue to Rochester. The most recent data from the State Education Department shows that New York State owes schools across the state $5.9 billion in classroom operating aid (a combination of Foundation Aid and Gap Elimination Adjustment). AQE’s data revealed that Rochester schools are owed $13,879,558. Monroe County schools, in total, are owed $285,765,173 in GEA and Foundation Aid.
“The real champions of education are the parents of our children,” said NYS Assembly member Harry Bronson. “I am pleased to partner with these parents to highlight their commitment to education and my dedication to ensuring our children have access to high-quality public education. My experience has taught me that education is the great equalizer and the greatest investment we can make is in our children and ensuring school aid displays a commitment to that principle. Assuring that our children get the education they deserve, and their schools receive the resources to provide a quality education is my top priority.”
“Our schools are undergoing serious financial distress,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director, AQE. “We are thrilled that Senator like Ted O’Brien are fighting for our schools. Senator O’Brien’s win for more funding for schools benefits both the state and the region. The concerted effort of Senator O’Brien and Assemblyman Bronson is the best hope for New York State schools.”
“Children in New York have been waiting for years for the promises to make our schools better,” said James Bearden, Chair of Alliance for Quality Education/Metro Justice Education Committee. “Every day that goes by without sufficient funding, without essential reforms that bring parents and teachers together, our children suffer. We can’t wait any more.”
“Youth show and tell us in so many ways that our schools are not equipped to give them what they need to be able to focus and be excited to learn,” said Jennifer Banister of Teen Empowerment. “We have cut back or even cut out much of what we know works: more one-on-one attention from teachers and other staff, community-building time built into school schedules, creative and hands-on learning opportunities, academic and mental health counselors, life skills, school nurses, up-do-date technology and books, approaches to behavior issues that solve problems rather than just pushing students out of school. We thank all of our state representatives like Senator O’Brien and Assemblyman Bronson who are fighting for our kids.”
The Alliance for Quality Education is a coalition mobilizing communities across the state to keep New York true to its promise of ensuring a high quality public education to all students regardless of zip code, income or race. Combining its legislative and policy expertise with grassroots organizing, AQE advances proven-to-work strategies that lead to student success and echo a powerful public demand for a high quality education.