JOINT STATEMENT FROM SENATE EDUCATION CHAIRMAN JOHN FLANAGAN, SENATE FINANCE CHAIRMAN JOHN DEFRANCISCO AND ROCHESTER AREA SENATOR JOE ROBACH

As members of the New York State Senate, we are deeply offended by Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s recent assertion that the children in New York City are more deserving and more in need of early childhood education than the 4 and 5-year-olds in the communities we represent.

We know Mayor DeBlasio has a lot on his plate, but he may be interested in learning a few facts about the rest of the state.  All four of the big city school districts, including Rochester Syracuse and Buffalo, are poorer than New York City, and 70 percent (471) of the school districts across the state – – serving more than 1.2 million students – – are less wealthy than the one he represents.

In addition, 20 percent of the school districts in New York State have a greater percentage of students with higher needs than New York City, and many of those districts are worse off than the worst parts of New York City.  Meanwhile, the City of Rochester has the fifth highest poverty rate among all U.S. cities.  In fact, during legislative budget hearings we heard testimony from many Upstate mayors about the difficulties their cities are facing.

We have a responsibility to provide every student in this state with the same opportunity to learn and to succeed, not just the students in New York City.

For more information about this statement from Senate members, please contact the office of Joe Robach.