July 11, 2012 - On July 10, Cohoes Superintendent Robert Libby participated in a public hearing convened by the Governor's New NY Education Reform Commission, where he described the impact of eroding state support on high-needs, low-wealth school districts like Cohoes. The new commission was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in April to examine the current structure of the state's education system. The hearing, held in Albany at the Empire State Plaza, was the first of 10 public meetings that will be hosted by the panel across the state. Read more>>
May 23, 2012 - Superintendent Robert Libby today helped launch a year-round, statewide campaign aimed at addressing state policies that are undermining educational quality in communities throughout New York. "Educate NY Now!" is bringing together teachers, administrators, parents, school board members, education advocates and others in a broad-based effort calling on the state to fulfill its constitutional obligation to provide every student with a "sound, basic education." read more>>
Below is a four-minute look at how budget decisions at the state level impact budget decisions made at the district level.
March 23, 2012 - State budget negotiations are reportedly nearing their conclusion, with budget passage expected next week. That means there is one last chance to call on state legislators to provide MORE state aid to the Cohoes City School District. As a high-needs, low-wealth district, Cohoes relies heavily on aid from the state. The district is currently facing a $2.1 million budget deficit.
This week, after their Saturday letter-writing campaign, teachers from Cohoes delivered 750 letters (see photo) to the State Capitol asking that the Cohoes school community receive an equitable share of state aid in the 2012-13 state budget.
On Wednesday, State Comptroller Tom Dinapoli announced there has been an additional $164 million collected in state revenue during the first two months of the year. Please take a moment today to call or email our state legislators to urge them to make these or any additional revenues available to high-needs school districts like Cohoes.
The message: Before the state budget is finalized, please do what you can for our students. Cohoes students should not lose more teachers and programs and people should not lose their jobs when more money may be available to reverse this course for education. Please restore the $164 Million in newly identified revenues to New York's public schools.
Hon. Ron Canestrari - NYS Assembly
Hon. Neil Breslin - NYS Senate
*Also, please visit the Cohoes City School District's Facebook page and SHARE the video entry entitled "A Message of Necessity" >>
More than 20 Cohoes students, parents, teachers, and administrators turned citizen advocates this week as they took to the hallways of the State Capitol to call on state legislators to increase classroom aid to school districts in need. In meetings and at a student-led rally, their message was clear: Cohoes and similar school districts will face very harsh budget decisions without solid intervention by the State Legislature.
On Wednesday, February 29, students from Cohoes High School and Cohoes Middle School joined nearly 600 students from across the state at a forum sponsored by the Alliance for Quality Education, the Association of Small City School Districts, and New York State United Teachers. The focus of the event was to call for a greater share of state aid to be delivered to high-need, low-wealth school districts. It was the second day this week representatives from Cohoes traveled to Albany to press for a fair share of state aid.
|Cohoes student advocates
descend on Albany:
Pictured from l to r: CHS Asst. Principal Bryan Wood; Superintendent Robert Libby; CHS Teacher Kerry Kuhn; Connor Laughlin (Grade 11); Zainab Osmani (Grade 8); Elle Brammer (Grade 8); John McKnight (Grade 8); Susan Canfield (Grade 11); Josh Giller (Grade 8); Kiera Clark (Grade 11); Jordan West (Grade 8); Julianna Harris (Grade 8); Unique Salgado (Grade 8); Ashley Manzer (Grade 11); CMS Social Worker Elaine Flatow; and Jack Fitzpatrick (Grade 11).
Specifically, organizers and attendees of the Rural and Small City Schools Forum are calling on state legislators to enact a budget that would:
• Restore the $1.3 billion in school aid cuts enacted last year;
• Redirect $250 million in proposed “competitive grants” to classroom aid for low- and average-wealth districts.
Guest speakers, including legislators, addressed the group at the Hart Theater in the Egg at the Empire State Plaza. Attendees were treated to lunch and transportation, to and from, the event was paid for by forum organizers. Other participating school districts included Watervliet, Schenectady, Schoharie and Broadalbin-Perth. In all, 37 school districts were represented.
After lunch, the students from Cohoes were formally recognized on the floor of the Assembly Chamber by Majority Leader Ron Canestrari. The students also visited the office of State Senator Neil Breslin, who had addressed the forum audience that morning.
Prior to the student event, parents representing elementary, middle, and high school students joined Superintendent Robert Libby in a private meeting with Majority Leader Canestrari. Also attending the meeting was former Harmony Hill principal and Cohoes business leader Barbara Hildreth. In their sit-down, the group shared their concerns regarding the district’s projected $2.1 million deficit for the 2012-13 school year and its potential impact on programs and staffing, extracurriculars, sports and more.
“Like so many other districts that rely heavily on state aid, drastic cuts are in store for our schools without a significant lift from the Legislature,” Superintendent Libby told Assemblyman Canestrari. “Nothing will be spared: sports, extracurriculars, advanced course offerings, jobs. Years of eroding state aid and limited revenue options have put us here and we need help if we are to protect educational opportunities for our students.
“Just yesterday, the Capital Region was named the fourth best region for jobs by Forbes magazine,” continued Superintendent Libby. “What will those families think when they relocate here, only to find New York can no longer provide an adequate education for their children?”
press their case for more state aid
Pictured from left to right are: Dan Kelly, Barbara Hildreth, Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari, Denise Napier, Stacey Nolan, and Superintendent Libby.
As part of the Canestrari meeting, the group also delivered an invitation to the Assemblyman to attend a Board of Education budget workshop on Wednesday, March 7. Superintendent Libby delivered the same invitation to the office of Senator Breslin.
The Governor can use what's called a "Message of Necessity" to move important pieces of legislation. Faced with a $2.1 million budget gap, the Cohoes City School District has a Message of Necessity of its own. The following video has been posted to the school district's Facebook page. Please "like" our Facebook page and share the link to this video with everyone as we try to get the attention of our State Legislators and leaders before they finalize the State Budget!
On Tuesday, February 28, Abram Lansing Principal Cliff Bird was asked by the Alliance for Quality Education, and partners in the advocacy group known as Winning Beginnings, to address a rally of more than 100 supporters of early childhood education. Principal Bird was also asked to join a meeting with a representative of the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to discuss school aid, early childhood issues, and the state budget.
This was the second time Mr. Bird was asked to speak on the need for expanded early childhood education and its positive impact on young learners. During his remarks, he took the time to discuss the funding inequities that are hurting high-needs, low-wealth districts such as Cohoes.
As a high-needs, low-wealth district, Cohoes relies heavily on aid it receives from Albany. Unfortunately, Albany has not kept its promise to adequately fund our schools. Your HELP is needed NOW to get our message to state leaders that education is at risk in Cohoes! Learn how>>