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Listening Session For Senate Education Committee Chair

New Hartford, NY (WIBX) – The state Senate’s Education Committee Chairman visited Oneida County to listen. Senator John Flanagan said that’s why he met with a group of more than 30 area school superintendants and school board members Tuesday night.

BOCES Superintendent Howard Mettleman says local school leaders are asking for equitable cuts, taking into consideration the wealth of downstate districts and local schools.

“The total regional wealth is a major factor. That’s combined wealth, both income and property. So when you look at our region compared to perhaps some of the school downstate, we are much more dependent on the state aid. A small cut up here is magnified,” Mettleman said.

Senator Flanagan says after reviewing the budget, he is also concerned that upstate New York is being targeted for a disproportionate amount of cuts compared to downstate districts, including his own district of Long Island.

He said he looked the budget number including building aid and percentage change in budget, “things that are boring but really important, like combined wealth ratio. And, it’s lower up here, so you should get more,” Flanagan said.

Mettleman said easing mandates could soften the blow when it comes to program, building codes and staffing. “Some of those mandates are new requirements and some are current requirements. What can we change that will allow the cost of education in our region to be less, thereby helping the whole state?”

Flanagan was invited to last night’s meeting by Senator Joseph Griffo.

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