On Wednesday, February 27, 2019, students in Jorma Tompuri’s Public Affairs classes traveled to Albany as part of the New York Library Advocacy Day. Sheri McNair, the O’Neill library media specialist organized the annual trip and Social Studies teacher Nicole Glennon accompanied the students to Albany. Each year library advocates from across New York State converge on Albany to voice their support for funding and policies that benefit libraries. Their efforts have resulted in over $11M in additional library aid since 2011. In addition to the Library Advocacy Day agenda, several students asked our elected leaders to help restore budget cuts to education that have could eliminate vital programs in school districts statewide.
The students toured the State Capitol building, visiting the Assembly and Senate Chambers, where members were discussing bills and various groups were lobbying the elected representatives for projects and grant money. The students then went to Senator James Skoufis’ office and James entertained the students with stories about bills he plans to introduce to the Senate that hopefully will become laws and other projects that he is engaged in. James explained that this time of the year is when the Assembly, Senate, and Governor propose a state budget. The current year’s proposed budget is $170 billion. Senator Skoufis’ schedule is extremely busy meeting with constituents and attending legislative committee and Senate hearings. A typical day begins at 8:00 am and ends at 6:00 pm and on average James meets with 10-15 groups per day.