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Local group rallies in Albany for more education funding

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Buffalo: Local group rallies in Albany for more education funding
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BUFFALO -- With signs in hand, a group of students, parents, and community leaders boarded a bus Wednesday morning on their way to Albany to rally for more educational funding in New York State.

"I am fighting for my education because the more money they are taking, the less programs we're getting in school," said Jessea Hawkesworth.

Hawkesworth, a junior at Buffalo's Olmsted High School, is one of about 700 will rally in the state capital.

"Our children need to have money and funding so they have a good quality education," said Ina Downing of Citizen Action of New York. "In Buffalo, we have a high rate of kids not passing or graduating and you want to take money?"

The group's hoping to send a strong message to leaders in Albany as another state budget is set to be proposed soon. But Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he believes in competitive funding in the budget in order to provide schools with an incentive to perform better.

The Buffalo Public School District is caught in the middle. Negotiations between the district and teachers' union are stalled and have yet to come to an agreement with a teacher evaluation plan. An approved plan is due to the state in January or Buffalo could miss out on millions of dollars in funding.

Parent of three Buffalo school children Kelly Walker said, "My kids have yet to stay in a program and keep it going, whether it's due to transportation or lack of staff. I would like to see the government do their part and bring funding back to New York State."

The bus tour made stops in Buffalo, Batavia, and Rochester before making its way to Albany where the group will spend all of Wednesday.

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