The Schenectady School District says it's being shortchanged when it comes to school aid and is looking to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. As our Erin Connolly tells us, the Superintendent says school districts with a majority of minority students are getting less state aid than districts with mostly white students.
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Erick Campos was just four-years-old when he came to the United States to live the American dream.
Erick Campos, a Schenectady High School senior, said, "My parents didn't go to college. They didn't have the opportunity. They dropped out of high school. They had to work to support the family in Costa Rica."
Now a Schenectady High School senior, he's discouraged by what he calls discriminatory funding of education in New York State.
Campos said, "To be honest, I'm quite disgusted that Schenectady isn't receiving their full share of state aid when in fact they should be."
Larry Spring, the Superintendent of the Schenectady School District, agrees and that's why he's looking to file a complaint with the United States Department of Justice. He says his district received just 54 percent of the money it should get based on the foundation aid formula. Meanwhile, he says, other districts are receiving 100 percent or more of their aid. He claims statistics show New York State schools with higher concentrations of minority students are being discriminated against and getting less state aid than districts with mostly white students.
Spring, said, "Not only do I believe that we have an extremely strong case and we're being discriminated against and need some relief, but I also think it's really important that kids see there are adults in the community that care so much about them they're willing to fight this fiercely for them."
At an unrelated news conference Wednesday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed some aspects of the state of education in New York.
Governor Cuomo said, "Education went up four percent in the state budget. That's a lot of money. Go ask taxpayers out there did your income go up four percent. Did you home value go up four percent? And they're going to tell you no."
Spring said, "The problem with that is when you have an existing inequity in distribution and you create the same level of increase, you're actually exacerbating the initial inequity."
And for students like Campos thinking about college and beyond, they worry about the district in the years to come.
Campos said, "I look at it as my kids are going to dealing with the same thing if they go to Schenectady. Is it going to be better? Is it not going to be better? What's going to happen in the future?"
All questions that remain to be answered.
The Schenectady School District expects to file the complaint in mid-October.