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RFA students express dislike for treatment of schools

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Some Rome Free Academy students take exception to the way Albany treats needier school districts-including their own.  
 
So on Friday, they asked their Assembly member to come to their school to talk about it.  They hosted a discussion to address the gap elimination adjustment act of 2010/11 and inequities in how the state distributes aid to schools. 
     
College-bound senior Ryan DiMezzo isn't a spectator when it comes to his education; he's a participant. He's attended school board meetings and says that the pain from Albany budget cuts is real.
  
"Day to day, no, but year to year, when you come back to school and you realize that teachers aren't here any more. Wonderful teachers that have been here 6,7,8 years got laid off and they're not coming back," says DiMezzo.
     
Teachers at RFA say taxpayers need to learn to whom they should direct their anger, and then hold those people accountable.
   
"So our hope is the community of Rome and some of the nearby communities, will start understanding, when they look at their school tax bills,  that they're getting the short end of the stick and maybe start addressing some of their anger to those in Albany who have the power to do something about it," says teacher Michael Lacey.
    
Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi attended the discussion.  He says Albany is making some progress toward restoring the gap elimination funding they took from schools in 2010/11.
  
"What you saw in this year's state budget is we restored a third of the  GEA  and the plan is to continue to make restorations over the next two years," said Brindisi, who represents the 119th district.
    
The assemblyman said that Albany has begun driving more aid to needier school districts , and he hopes more will be done to fairly distribute state aid to those districts. 
   
"I think the chances are good because the governor is starting to recognize because a lot of the poorer urban and rural communities have started to band together to make the case that aid that comes from the state should be directed to the highest need districts because those are the districts that can't afford to raise enough revenue off of their property tax base."

 

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