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School districts get a funding boost

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 September 2013 at 12:00 am

Maziarz directs $67,800 to each district for security, instruction initiatives

Photo by Tom Rivers – State Sen. George Maziarz met with the five school district superintendents in Orleans County this morning to announce $67,800 in additional state funding for each district. Maziarz, third from left, is pictured with, from left: Michael Bonnewell, Albion Central School superintendent, Robert D’Angelo, Holley; Julie Christensen, Kendall; Jeff Evoy, Medina; and Jason Smith, Lyndonville.

ALBION – State Sen. George Maziarz helped Orleans County school districts get off to a good start by directing $67,800 for each district, unplanned revenue that districts plan to use for security and instruction initiatives.

Maziarz secured the funding through his “bullet aid” earmarks and directed the money to the districts in Orleans County. He wanted the funding to go to low-wealth districts where he said a state school funding formula isn’t always fair.

He left it up to each district to choose how to spend the money, which is outside of the state aid approved in the 2013-14 state budget.

“They can use it in whatever they deem best serves each district,” Maziarz said today in Albion, while meeting with the five school district superintendents in the county. “It’s their choice. All too often Albany tries to micromanage.”

Maziarz said rural districts face fiscal challenges. They don’t receive the same level of state aid as urban districts, and don’t have the tax base like suburban districts.

“It’s important we don’t overlook the rural districts,” Maziarz said.

Last year Maziarz directed $50,000 to each of the five districts – Albion, Holley, Kendall, Lyndonville and Medina. This year they will each receive $67,800.

Albion plans to use the money for physical fitness equipment, including enhancements to the elementary school playground, said Michael Bonnewell, the district superintendent.

Holley will devote the funding to programs and staff development to help Holley students with Common Core assessments, said Robert D’Angelo, Holley school superintendent.

Kendall will spend the money for wireless access points for computers and security upgrades, including swipe cards for elementary school access, said Julie Christensen, the district superintendent.

Lyndonville will use most of the money for staff development for meeting Common Core standards, especially with math, said Jason Smith, the district superintendent. Some of the funding also will be used for security projects.

In Medina, the funding will help pay for a school resource officer who is a member of the Medina Police Department. Some of the funding will help with other security improvements, said Jeff Evoy, the district superintendent.