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Educators, students, parents rally for state to reinvest in public schools

By LEXIE O'CONNOR

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Over 700 parents, students, and educators state-wide boarded buses en route to Albany Wednesday. They're asking Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature for more funding for public schools.

The John F.Kennedy Middle School in Utica was the third stop for the bus tour called "Educate New York Now Express."

Armed with banners detailing what's missing in their schools, the activists headed to Albany to ask for funding they say they deserve.

"Ten years ago the state appellate court ruled that the campaign for fiscal equity was right in that districts with high need are not getting the funding necessary to deliver a sound basic education as guaranteed by the constitution," said Daniel Delehanty a high school teacher from Rochester taking part.

After starting in Rochester, three busses parked in Syracuse, Geneva and then Utica before heading to the state's capitol, each stop picking up more people to help deliver their message.

"Right now we are dealing with a crisis in our urban schools," said Delehanty. "The real discussion on is are we getting the resources that the students need into the schools and right now we're not."

While Governor Cuomo's last budget increased school aid by $805 million, educators say it's not enough.

"You may say sure 10 % growth in funding, but that doesn't mean that we don't have more families who are without jobs," said Delehanty. "That we don't have more students with special needs that we don't have a school infrastructure that continues to decay and we also have to take into account the growing inflation that comes with each year."

Activists hope Wednesday's rally starts a message that gathers momentum for change in education across the state.

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