HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - Education funding was the topic of conversation on Thursday night, as educators, students and parents gathered at Herkimer College for the "Fight for our Valley Schools," education rally.
The purpose of the rally was to educate the public on the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or the amount of money lost in state aid, threatening school districts. Organizers also hoped to teach the community about how to rally for change.
The 10 districts in the Mohawk Valley lost a total of $42.1 million. The breakdown by district is as follows:
Central Valley: $8.38 million
Dolgeville: $3.55 million
Frankfort-Schuyler: $6.79 million
Herkimer: $4.28 million
Little Falls: $4.35 million
Mount Markham: $5.19 million
Owen D. Young: $1.21 million
Poland: $2.87 million
Richfield Springs: $2.45 million
West Canada Valley: $3.05 million
The Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego Boces sponsored event featured Dr. Rick Timbs, the Executive Director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium. Dr. Timbs explained how the state's current aid formula is depriving area students of the type of education they deserve.
Dr. Timbs said the students are the people suffering, "The standards have increased for students. They are asked to do more and wealthy districts can easily compete. They have massive programs and opportunities for students, so our students are not only short changed, they are left behind."
Herkimer High School Student Council President, Daniel Adamek attended the event; Adamek spoke of the inequality and unjust education system. Recently, Adamek wrote a letter to Gov. Cuomo, along with the HHS Student Council, passing a resolution, demanding Cuomo and the government fairly fund public education.
"We're tired of New York State unfairly funding our schools," Adamek said. "Our schools don't have as good of recourses as what would be offered that other schools in New York State get."
Adamek hopes to get other districts, parents and community members to write letters or reach out to local legislators and Cuomo. He said Central Valley Academy already has.
According to the Herkimer Student Council resolution there is a gap of $8,601 between the amount of money spent per pupil in the richest and poorest districts in the state.
To learn more about advocacy issues for schools visit this website.