‘Survivor Albany:’ competing for school aid

Living in Schenectady, I get to hear Schenectady High School senior Maya Williams speak at a number of events. (As well as Iris Williams, who see comments below, is not related!) Maya impressed again at a Wednesday press conference about what the governor’s proposed competitive grant program for state aid to schools really means.

“Making me compete with my friends in different schools for funding for our education isn’t fair and it isn’t right,” she said. “If my school needs new textbooks, computers and teachers, why should we have to prove that by competing?” Here’s link to Albany coverage. Here’s link to Syracuse coverage, to Buffalo coverage. There were also events in Binghamton, Mt. Vernon and Wyandanch. We will update with more as we find them.

Click here for the link to regional data sets. You will be able to see how much your district lost in aid over the last two years, what increase you would get this year and what increase your district could get if there were no competitive grant and funding was distributed like the state Board of Regents has proposed. My school district for example, South Colonie, had $4.29 million in cuts, would get $226,698 under the proposed budget, but would get $111,031 if there was no competing.

Can’t you just see a Survivor-like competition now? District officials, teachers, parents, support staff and students should all be wearing those famous headbands. The whole idea of Tribal Council is turned on its head though, as no one involved in the actual education process gets to vote on which district gets the money. Would immunity be won by those districts that successfully negotiate teacher and principal evaluation procedures?

We are still waiting for the criteria on these competitive grants, by the way. Here’s the link to grant application process for last year’s competitive grants.



  1. Maya Williams February 2, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Hi Betsy!!

    I really appreciate your comments and coverage! A relative of mine referred me to your blog after reading my name, and I really enjoyed reading!

    I loved the Survivor analogy, sadly true but funny…The current education situation in New York is certainly filled with a lot of political drama!

    Just a quick note, Iris isn’t my Grandmother, we just share a last name, I know, funny coincidence.

    Thank you so much for all of your great coverage and support!!

    I hope to see you at a political event soon!!

    • Betsy Sandberg February 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      Thanks so much for your correction. I will correct. Although you share more than a last name. You both share a passion for social justice, and a willingness to participate.

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