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Ryan Martin, CHS sophomore, faxing legislators while we wait. Photo: Carol Pynchon
Ryan Martin, CHS sophomore, faxing legislators while we wait. Photo: Carol Pynchon

Students say advocacy trip to Albany was persuasive

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Three busloads of students and parents from Canton Central Schools are recovering today from a roundtrip to Albany yesterday (Wednesday). They were among 600 rural school advocates there from around the state to lobby for a bigger share of the state budget.
Martha Foley has more.

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Reported by

Julie Grant
Reporter and Producer

Jay Foster-Grover is a senior at Canton Central.  He says students got to meet with senators and their staff members.  They explained  why poor and rural districts are the big losers in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal. 

Foster-Grover says they got a lot of attention from the media, and from legislators…

Jay – persuaded a lot of people.wav: So I think it will spread awareness in the general public, and in the lawmakers.  I think we persuaded a lot of people behind our cause. (:10)

Governor Cuomo has proposed increasing state education aid by 4.1-percent.  But that will still mean a $2.5 million dollar shortfall for Canton Central.  The district is considering cutting 44 positions, as well as theatre, music, and other elective programs.  Other rural districts have similar stories.

Foster-Grover says they were disappointed the Governor didn’t acknowledge their gathering:

Jay – Cuomo didn’t show.wav:  I took that as very rude.  All of these schools, we’re travelling five hours on a bus, others travelling six hours.  Adults took time off of work.  It really seems like he could have paid a lot more attention to us.  He didn’t show up at all.(:22)

State Sen. Tom Libous DID meet with the school lobbyists:

Lobcut1.wav  “…I’m here to support them.”

Foster-Grover and other students say they did get support from the lawmakers they spoke with, including Sen. Patty Ritchie and Assemblywoman Addie Russell, and are hopeful it will make a difference in the final budget.

Our Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt caught up with the Canton group too.

Ansel Shipley is a sophomore:

Lobcut2.wav  :09  “….may not be any next year.”

 

Shipley said he’s counting on Advanced  Placement classes, too. If they disappear, he said, “what am I gonna do?”

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