UTICA, N.Y. -- Students, teachers and the Alliance for Quality Education rallied for increased aid outside the State Office Building in Utica Wednesday. They asked drivers to honk and show support for public education, hoping their message would motivate them to contact legislators.
The Utica City School District faces a $6.5 million deficit. As it stands, the proposed $142 million budget eliminates 95 positions, more than 50 of them teachers. Students say they're already feeling the pinch.
"That's only gonna worsen conditions at Proctor," said Marquis Palmer, a Thomas R. Proctor High School senior. "We need as much teachers as we can get. We need as efficient classrooms as we can get. And the schools supplies and everything. You know, it's all gonna hurt us, significantly. The classroom quality has lowered. That's not a reflection of the teachers. However, it is a reflection of the funding we get."
According to the Utica City School District, every one-million-dollars in additional state aid could restore 12 to 15 teaching position cuts proposed in the budget.
The budget will be up for a public vote in May. The district is the fifth poorest in the state.