Tonawanda News — SANBORN — Parents, teachers, students and residents fed up with the way New York state does business rallied in a show of support for educating children Wednesday.
Gathered outside Niagara-Wheatfield High School, approximately 70 protestors braved the bitter winds and blowing snowflakes to carry signs displaying their disgust with the state and its education policies. With sayings like “Don’t break the promise, fund education,” “Kids first,” “No matter how you slice it, a cut is a cut” and “Hey, NY, be cool, fund our school,” the gathered hoped to send a message to the man in charge.
“We’ve had enough of Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo taking away from our children,” Niagara-Wheatfield Teachers President Kevin Rustowicz said. “We need to send a clear message: Enough is enough. You swore to uphold the New York state Constitution. But that is funding public education.”
Demonstrators both old and young took to the microphone to express how recent cuts have affected them personally. Music programs, including the middle school play, took a slashing this past year, while modified sports also were eliminated.
Advanced Placement classes also took a hit, which particularly troubled senior Kaleigh McMonagle who said her future career possibilities nearly suffered a massive blow thanks to cuts in the biology program.
“I am planning on going to college for pre-med with a focus on biology,” she said. “So I was upset when I almost wasn’t admitted to AP Biology class this year. Then, when I was in, I was shocked to find out there wasn’t enough seats in the classroom. We were forced into large lab groups.”
A product of the district’s soccer program as well, McMonagle also expressed her displeasure with losing the modified sports program.
She said finding out last year was “depressing and quite a shock” because the sports programs help students in a way classrooms can’t.