Concern about upcoming state aid to local schools will send 20 students, staff and community members from Unatego Central School to join a statewide effort Wednesday in Albany, officials said. A media event will be held at 1:45 that day at the junior/senior high school ahead of the group’s departure.
The event, organized by the state organization Alliance for Quality Education, is designed to focus attention on the issue before Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal, usually offered by Jan. 15, Alliance spokeswoman Emily Karol said. As part of the proposal, he will offer his vision of what aid to education will be for the upcoming school year. A final decision will be part of the state budget due to be passed April 1.
The Alliance will send 10 to 15 buses to Albany. A bus will stop at 1:45 p.m. at the Unatego Junior/Senior High School in Wells Bridge to pick up the representatives. Officials said they will be part of a group of about 600 people calling on Cuomo and the legislature to reinvest in the state’s public school children.
Unatego, like other schools in the area, faced sharp cuts for 2011-12, as the state sought to close its budget deficit by reducing aid through a gap elimination adjustment. To meet the approximately $1 million cut, the school reorganized its elementary schools, for a savings of $350,000, Superintendent Charles Molloy said. If the school takes a similar cut in this year’s proposal, the only real alternative would be to close Otego Elementary, and cut non-mandated programs, he said. Many of the students going are juniors who can talk about what such cuts would mean to them.
The school expects to start a letter-writing campaign in January to try and influence lawmakers.