Buttenschon discusses school aid at town hall meeting

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Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, D-119, held a town hall-style meeting at City Hall Monday night, speaking on the state budget passed April 1 and hearing concerns from constituents.

In regards to education funding, which was reduced for Rome schools under the budget, Buttenschon said she was working with the district and with state Senator Joseph Griffo, R-47, to appeal to the state for more aid.

“The Rome school district was very honest and up-front initially that they were going to need additional funding,” Buttenschon said. “Even with the $2.2 million that came from foundation aid to the Rome school district, it was not enough.”

She continued: “I’ve had conversations with the governor’s office and with the Speaker of the Assembly with regards to what we call bullet aid, which is funding that will come as time progresses, but what they’ve identified to me is that we probably won’t see that funding until the beginning of June.”

Superintendent Peter C. Blake said last week he is hopeful that the district may receive about $500,000 in one-time bullet aid funding.

Buttenschon also discussed the proposed legalization of marijuana for recreational use at the state level, an initiative that was originally included in the governor’s executive budget but was removed. Calls and emails from constituents tended against legalization, Buttenschon said, claiming that “98 percent” of those who reached out were not in favor.

Chief among concerns raised by constituents were high tax rates, the possibility of New York becoming a “sanctuary state” for undocumented immigrants, and the Reproductive Health Act, which permits late-term abortions when a woman’s health is endangered.

Buttenschon said she would “continue to work together” with her colleagues in the assembly to “create partnerships” that would aid in “solving these issues.”

“I have found that, working in the assembly, whether it’s upstate or downstate, we all have the same concerns,” she said.

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