Parents, students, teachers rally for crucial education funding
The Educate NY Now Express made more than 25 stops across the state to highlight the looming fiscal crisis in education. The Alliance for Quality Education organized the bus tour to the state Capitol to lobby for a "sound, basic" education.
Huddled in the cold outside the Citizens Action office on Main Street in downtown Buffalo, some city students rallied with parents in urging the Governor and state lawmakers to increase school funding.
"They want books. They want to have wrap-around service. They want activities. They want to be involved with lots of things," said Ina Ferguson-Downing, Buffalo school parent and grandparent.
Ferguson-Downing said too much funding is being cut, jeopardizing education.
"They're cutting funding for wrap-around services. The social workers. They're cutting teachers. The classrooms are huge. Stop cutting the money. Can you pick something else besides education? Education is not a gift -- it is a right. every child has the right to be education to the fullest potential. Stop cutting the money," said Ferguson-Downing.
Buffalo parent Kelly Walker says Houghton Academy already cut extracurricular programs and music.
"My son would like to play guitar lessons. They've taken the instrumental music program out of Houghton Academy. And there's a lot of talent at Houghton Academy. I'm really disappointed and feel like I'm a failure to my children because I can't afford to send them to a private school," said Walker.
As the Governor prepares his proposed spending plan for 2013, the Alliance for Quality Education is calling on the state to reform the cap on local property taxes. They say the lack of funding is leading some districts to consider drastic cuts in programs and staff.