Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D/WF-Tompkins/Cortland) announced the Assembly passed legislation she sponsored to establish the New York State Center for Rural Schools, which would operate the New York State Rural Education Program (A.10201-B). The center would be housed at Cornell University.
“Maintaining and promoting the vitality of our rural schools is critical to bolstering the health of the upstate economy,” Assemblywoman Lifton said. “Rural schools face unique challenges in providing the kinds of programs our children and communities need in order to compete and thrive in today’s economy. The rural schools center will act as a strong nucleus where experts can come together to effectively address the challenges New York’s rural schools face.”
The Center for Rural Schools would work to make rural schools the hubs of their communities and create strong programs that will help make the schools bridges out of poverty. The center would aim to address local school tax concerns, teacher-retention issues and the need for flexible and efficient funding for rural schools. It would also work to improve the quality of rural education and promote active and adult learning.
The Rural Education Advisory Committee, created in 1990, and the New York State Rural Schools Association have worked with rural schools, communities, and state and local agencies to provide information and assistance to rural schools in addressing issues unique to these schools and the communities they serve.
“Rural schools and communities need to continue to find ways to address their distinctive needs and to help make New York a national leader in its commitment to education,” Lifton said. “The Center for Rural Schools will be an important tool in stemming the ‘brain-drain’ upstate New York has experienced over the past many years. With the Senate having already passed this bill, I strongly urge the governor to sign it into law so we can start to address these issues today.”