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It's not just about the economy tanking, it's a formula that's unfair.

Schools struggle with shortfalls; parents, students prep for lobbying fieldtrip

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More North Country school have declared fiscal emergencies. Beekmantown Central School in Clinton County has unveiled a plan that would slash 43 jobs and the district's entire interscholastic sports program.

The Plattsburgh Press Republican reports the district faces a $3.2 million shortfall. Superintendent Scott Amo told a gathering Tuesday evening that "reductions in people are inevitable."

In Jefferson County, Lyme Central School officials have appealed to Gov. Cuomo change the way the state distributes school aid to give more to rural schools. In a letter quoted in the Watertown Daily Times, Superintendent Karen Donahue wrote, "I've witnessed great reductions in state aid, federal aid, and now a capped tax levy...now our students are suffering. They face the unfortunate circumstances of living in the wrong zip code."

More than 100 parents, students, and teachers gathered at the Canton High School auditorium last night. At least three busloads of them from Canton, Potsdam, and possibly other school districts are heading to Albany next week. They were meeting to learn what they'll do when they get there.

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Reported by

Julie Grant
Reporter and Producer

Parent Tedra Cobb says they want lawmakers to understand how much the reduction in state aid will mean to their schools:

"The cuts we are seeing now are overwhelming.  We’re talking about eliminating all sports, eliminating AP, eliminating afterschool anything, any enrichment, and also potentially remedial."

The Alliance for Quality Education sent a representative to last night’s meeting in Canton.  Chad Raddock said at least twenty school districts around the state were sending students to Albany to lobby for more school aid.  He advised them to be clear about how state aid cuts have already affected them.  Parents and students raised their hands, saying they’d lost teachers, nurses, and librarians.

Cobb says they need to earmark more money for these struggling school districts…

"It’s not just about the economy tanking, it’s a formula that is unfair, and that is above and beyond all of this other stuff, and that’s what they need to be paying attention to, and correct that." 

The Alliance for Quality Education told the meeting that north country lawmakers already support increasing state aid to rural districts.  On the bus trip next week, Cobb says they need to provide some specifics on how the state could do that.

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