Hobart and William Smith Colleges will host a Finger Lakes Community Forum for Public Education on Thursday, March 19. The event will bring together the Geneva Teachers’ Association with other teachers’ associations throughout the Finger Lakes region to discuss the current state of education and educational funding received by New York State. This conference is set to take place in Albright Auditorium at 7 p.m.
The theme for this forum is titled, “Respect Public Education.” The Colleges, a longtime partner of the Geneva City School District, will offer its venue to support the efforts of local public education.
“Our hope is to help the community understand how Governor Cuomo’s budget is dangerous for public education, and that they might take steps to reach their legislators to push for change,” says Geneva Teachers’ Association President Joy Martin.
Parents, students, board of education members, educators, administrators and other community members are invited to attend in order to gain perspective on the state of public education in the Finger Lakes. Among the issues to be discussed are Governor Andrew Cuomo’s state education budget and proposed educational reforms. At this forum, the Geneva Teachers’ Association will collaborate with Education Association, Seneca Falls Educators Association, Penn Yan Educators Association Phelps Clifton Springs Faculty Association, Canandaigua Teachers Educators Association, Wayne Teachers Educators Association, Marion Educators Association and others to engage in discussion over how to respond to the challenges faced by educators and parents in meeting students’ needs.
Following Cuomo’s State of the State Address, Teachers’ Associations across New York have raised issues with proposed changes to the state educational system. Much of the surrounding controversy is related to the plan known as the Gap Elimination Adjustment operated under the auspices of the state government. This tax cap has reduced the amount of state funding sent to public schools, and questions concerning the legitimacy of this tax cap have arisen.
“When things like public education are being threatened, the whole community tends to take notice! After all, public education is at the heart of our communities in this state,” reflects forum event co-chair Tina Webber. “In our own Finger Lakes area, teachers and other friends of public education would like to make sure that everyone is informed; so that together we all can advocate for our schools and our students.”
Attendees are encouraged to follow up with their elected representatives in the state government to demand equal funding for schools across the state.
“It’s an opportunity for people, especially young people, to watch democracy in action and see change enacted. If enough of the community says that we want to have change and if we stand united, we can have change,” says Martin.