An informal survey shows that 83 percent of respondents in northern and central New York believe the quality of the education offered in their local school districts is good or excellent.
As students in the North Country prepare to head back to the classroom, State Senator Patty Ritchie has released the results of her 2013 School Survey, an unscientific compilation of nearly 2,100 responses to a questionnaire.
“With input on everything from school safety to curriculum, the feedback I received through this survey will truly be invaluable as I continue to advocate for local education,” said Sen. Ritchie, a Republican from Heuvelton whose 48th District includes western St. Lawrence County and all of Jefferson and Oswego counties.
Some other results in answers to the questionnaire include:
• 74 percent have concerns about new standards called “common core,” designed to establish benchmarks for education and their impact on learning, while 54 percent think tougher teacher standards are unnecessary.
• 73 percent say more needs to be done to recognize great teachers..
• 81 percent oppose providing additional aid increases to better-performing schools.
• 79 percent are against a proposal by the National Rifle Association to arm teachers.
• 72 percent believe their local schools are safe.
• 56 percent think the tax cap is helping to hold down property taxes. In 2013, over 90 percent of school districts kept taxes below the cap. In addition, this year’s State Budget included a record level of savings under the School Property Tax Relief program, or STAR.
• 41 percent of respondents believe, when it comes to state education funding, basic classes and services are most important; 21 percent said state money should be used to hold down property taxes; 16 percent want to restore cuts to music, arts, sports and other programs first.
This year, Ritchie points out, New York State approved the largest school aid package in four years. The 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.