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Advocacy group leader tours Utica Schools, says school aide formula is unfair

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A general in the battle for more equitable state funding to high-need schools visited Utica today and toured some of its schools.

Billy Easton is the executive director of the Alliance for Quality education, an Albany-based advocacy group. Easton saw need during his tour of Proctor High School. "There's one computer lab in this building, 25 computers or so for 2700 students. That's clearly not enough," says Easton.

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi invited Easton to Utica and accompanied the advocacy group leader on his tour of Proctor High and Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School.

While unfair, inequitable state aid funding formulas might challenge school administrators, Brindisi says they hurt kids in the long run. "I hear from a lot of students that they're having issues trying to get into college because they don't have enough extra curricular activities on their resume and the problem is they can't take them because the schools have to cut down a lot on these extra programs," says Brindisi.

The Utica City School District is involved in a class action lawsuit with other small and mid-sized cities aimed at forcing a more fair state aid funding formula. But Easton isn't a fan of the legal route. "The courts are one route to solve it but there's a quicker route, for our political leaders to join Assemblyman Brindisi and say 'you know what? We're going to do the right thing," says Easton.

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