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Locals rally for education funding and campaign finance reform

Indivisible Mohawk Valley and Central New York Citizen Action held a rally at the State Office Building for education funding and campaign finance reform.

Posted: Mar 15, 2019 11:17 PM
Updated: Mar 15, 2019 11:46 PM

UTICA, N.Y. - Indivisible Mohawk Valley and Central New York Citizen Action held a rally at the State Office Building for education funding and campaign finance reform.

The activists and speakers highlighted two state budget issues. Those issues were the influence of big money in elections and the adequate funding of public schools.

In the state budget proposal, there is a plan to fully fund foundation aid for public schools. The state developed foundation aid which is a formula used to determine how much funding schools should receive.

"According to the foundation aid formula, Utica public schools are owed $47 million by the state," Kristina Andreotta, an organizer said. "That's an enormous amount of money that our children need."

Andreotta says her son is only three years old, but this is important to her because he will be attending Utica public schools in the future. 

"I want to make sure that he has every opportunity possible and honestly we need resources to make that happen," Andreotta said.

Cam Tien, who was another organizer for the rally, says education funding is important to him because he has two school aged children and he teaches in the Rome City School District.

"The only way for anyone to move on, to progress, to get better opportunities is to get a good education," Tien said. "Without adequate funding for education, I don't think that's going to happen and that's going to put a lot of kids in a disadvantage."

Tien is also a council member in Rome for the 1st ward, and he says campaign finance reform is important too.

Another proposal in the Assembly and Senate budgets is for a small donor matching fund, which organizers say would even the playing field for candidates that don't come from a wealthy background.

Keith Rubino, an organizer who ran for the 118th Assembly seat last year, says he believes this legislation would have helped him in the election.

"Public financing rules would be matching contributions," Rubino said. "For any small contribution under $175, you would see a matching contribution 5, 6 fold, so this would allow people to have more of a voice and feel like they have more power. Give power back to the people."

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