You Can Help Our Schools Make The Grade

By Senator Patty Ritchie
Here in the Central and Northern New York region, our schools are among the very best.

That’s why I’m working to keep them that way, and to build an even better future for our state’s next generation.

As state senator, improving our state aid formula and ensuring our schools receive a fair share of state aid are just two of the ways I am working to improve public education.

But, in order to create even better educational opportunities, I need your feedback too.

That’s why I have launched my 2013 School Survey; a questionnaire designed to gather your opinions and ideas on other ways to make our great schools even better.

The survey poses questions on everything from school safety to curriculum, and I’ll be using responses to help me in the next legislative session, as I continue to advocate for local education.

Parents, students and taxpayers can access the survey at my website

I’ll be sure to share the results in the near future.

I’m proud to report that this year, New York State increased its commitment to public education with the largest school aid package in four years.

And, there’s more good news.

This year’s school aid package was weighted to rural and upstate schools, and provides $25 million more than last year in education aid to districts in Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.

While state aid goes a long way towards improving educational opportunities for students, recognizing and thanking our region’s hardworking teachers is part of the equation too.

Last month, I had the opportunity to honor more than 40 local educators with my “Teachers of Excellence” award.

From teachers who have dedicated their lives to education to teachers who work with students who have special needs, the group of honorees was truly remarkable.

In addition to receiving this special recognition, teachers were also awarded $500 in special funding for classroom enrichment through the purchase of technology, supplies and other necessities to improve their classrooms.

In our region, we’re extremely fortunate to have schools and teachers dedicated to providing students with quality educational opportunities that will enable them to succeed in the future.

While our schools are excellent, as with anything else, there are always opportunities for evolving and for improvement.

I invite you to participate in my 2013 school survey and to share your suggestions for keeping our schools moving in the right direction and making the grade.