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Spitzer Hits the Road for Education Budget

February 6, 2007

Governor Spitzer kicked off a statewide tour Monday at the state capital to promote his budget policies, including a $7-billion boost to the state's annual spending on education.

The governor used 212 green balloons to generate attention, asking parents such as Rosemary Rivera, from Rochester, to help hand the balloons to lawmakers.

"Obviously, there are resources that are not in place for our children to succeed. For example, in Rochester, we have a 50 percent graduation rate. That's totally unacceptable."

Michael Cohen, Superintendent of the Brentwood School District, says Spitzer's plan is a fairer school funding formula than that proposed by the Republican Senate majority.

"Long Island is the most segregated educational system in the country. I think what the Republican senators are concerned about is that the wealthier constituents aren't going to be doing as well as they would like."

In previous years, the Senate has blocked similar Assembly-led school funding reform. Rivera adds the current funding system is anything but fair.

"The current school aid formula is convoluted, irrational, and based on politics rather than our children's needs."

Leaders of the Republican majority have expressed concern about the budget's costs. The governor says his statewide tour is part of an effort to get them on board.

Charles Lane/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - NY