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Assemblywoman Addie Russell speaking to visiting students from Potsdam Middle School in the Assembly Chamber in March 2012. Photo: NY Assembly
Assemblywoman Addie Russell speaking to visiting students from Potsdam Middle School in the Assembly Chamber in March 2012. Photo: NY Assembly

North Country lawmakers await school funding details

As leaders in Albany continue to hammer out the final shape of the state budget, North Country lawmakers are anxious to know what's in store for the region's cash-strapped school districts.

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Assemblywoman Addie Russell says school aid will increase by nearly $1 billion dollars over last year. That’s $110 million more than Governor Cuomo had proposed. But it likely won’t be known until the weekend how that boost will be divvied up among individual school districts.

Russell says she believes state leaders have heard the plea for more school funding, in part because it’s coming from so many parts of the state. "It’s not just a rural Upstate issue. It’s also plaguing our small cities and our large cities," says Russell. "That’s like two thirds of the school districts in this state that are in the same boat, so I actually do believe that our voices are being heard, and I’m eagerly awaiting more details on what this budget will do in terms of targeting aid to those that really need it the most."

In other budget issues, Russell confirms that no prisons will be closed in the North Country under the budget plan. She also said a plan to regionalize psychiatric centers - which could affect the one in Ogdensburg - will not be a part of the budget deal.

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