Education

There must be a fair and equitable distribution of funds to school districts throughout the state to provide vital educational opportunities to all of our children. The final test for any school aid formula must be that all students and taxpayers are treated the same, with the same opportunities. And the formula must be understandable and consistent. I will always fight to ensure that we in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions receive our fair share of state aid to education.

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Senator O’Mara pays a morning reading visit to the children at Schuyler County Head Start in Montour Falls.

This year’s state budget provides record aid to education and, importantly, it finally eliminates the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GAP) that has unfairly cost local school districts billions of dollars since it was imposed on them in 2010 by the Democrat-controlled Senate and Assembly and then-Governor David Paterson as a budget gap closing measure.  The Senate Republican Majority was strongly opposed to the action from the start (every Senate Republican voted against it) and has fought year after year to get rid of it.  New York State should never close its budget gaps on the backs of local school districts and local property taxpayers.  The elimination of the GAP represents one of this year’s highlights, together with record funding for local schools.

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Senator O’Mara, Assemblyman Palmesano and Assemblyman Friend meet with a group of Watkins Glen high school students in Albany.

Additionally, this year’s state budget includes strong, increased support for our vital public libraries.

"Get the Lead Out"

Senator O’Mara and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo joined healthy schools advocates to push for this year’s approval of the “Safe Schools Drinking Water Act.”

Most recently, I have joined with my Assembly colleague, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Broome County), to address the growing crisis of lead contamination in public school drinking water systems.  Our legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Cuomo on September 6th, makes New York the first state in the nation to require testing and remediation — and we achieve it without imposing an unfunded mandate.