N-N, O'burg superintendents join Assemblyman Russell in fight to override governor’s veto
Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - 5:04 pm

Norwood-Norfolk and Ogdensburg school superintendents have joined Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell in urging the state legislature to override Gov. David Paterson’s veto of $600 million in additional school aid for the North Country.

The state Assembly and Senate Monday restored 40 percent of the governor’s school aid cuts for 2010-11, still leaving an $800 million reduction in aid to education. But Paterson has vetoed the hundreds of millions of dollars in spending that lawmakers added.

Said Russell, “Right now, our school districts are laying off teachers, cutting programs and making up for budget shortfalls with property tax increases. The Assembly led the way to restore $6.6 million to North Country schools, an action that was vetoed by the governor. I have been in constant discussions with my school superintendents and they have stressed to me the need for these restorations, not only for the continued quality of our education, but to help protect our local taxpayers. I am urging my colleagues to override his veto.”

“The proposed restoration on education aid is an important step in helping school districts cope during this recession,” said Ogdensburg Superintendent Timothy M. Vernsey, “The district may now be able to restore critical positions in the area of student support services – i.e. counselors, school resource officer, librarians – and our long-standing Gifted and Talented Program that was slated for elimination may be able to continue.”

Ogdensburg would receive $400,214 more next year under the budget approved by the legislature, compared to Paterson’s budget.

Vernsey said the legislature’s restoration would “help the district decrease the proposed tax levy increase of 5.9 percent, which is much higher than we wanted to propose in the first place but had no other options with state aid reductions.”

Said Elizabeth Kirnie, Norwood-Norfolk Central School superintendent, “The children in our rural, low-income district are no less worthy of a quality education than those in districts that are less reliant on state aid.” Norwood-Norfolk would received $252,442 more in state aid under the budget approved the legislature than with the governor’s budget.

Here is how other St. Lawrence County schools in Russell’s 118th Assembly district would fare if the legislature overrides Paterson’s veto:

Canton Central would receive $528,462 more than Gov. Paterson had proposed, but still $499,705 less than this year.

Hammond Central would get $78,077 more than Paterson proposed, but $281,091 less than last year.

Lisbon Central would get $159,923 more than Paterson proposed, but $5,338 less than last year.

Madrid-Waddington would get $110,069 more than Paterson proposed, but $357,665 less than last year.

Massena Central would get $588,089 more than Paterson proposed.

Morristown Central would get $111,162 more than Paterson proposed, but $92,871 less than last year.

Heuvelton Central would get $163,340 more than Paterson proposed, but $104,816 less than last year.

Potsdam Central would get $509,591 more than Paterson proposed, but $706,858 less than last year.

For more details from a chart provided by Russell's office, visit www.northcountrynow.info/state-funding-schools-approved-state-assembly-j....