Grading the Candidates on Education Funding: David Valesky and James DiStefano, NY State Senate 49th District

Thanks to the Observer-Dispatch, we’ve got the local candidates’ views on education – grades and analysis below.

The 49th District of the New York State Senate covers Madison, Onieda, Onondaga and Cayuga Counties. Incumbent David Valesky [D] is being challenged by James DiStefano [R].

The O-D asked candidates in some state and federal races about their proposals for education funding. Here are their answers:

David Valesky, D-Oneida

David Valesky, 49th district, ny state senate candidate

As the state faces an extreme fiscal crisis, my goal remains to reduce state government spending without impacting education. I have already voted for $1 billion in state spending cuts at the August special session. I anticipate we will do more in the upcoming special session, including efforts to consolidate state government and taking a hard look at the Medicaid system.

While I have also supported capping property taxes, I believe cutting state education funding is the wrong answer, as this will only increase the burden on property tax payers and negatively impact education and its critical role in our economic recovery.

Grade: C-. At least Valesky is honest. He makes it clear that he won’t support cuts to education and that he’s looking for cuts elsewhere. But consolidating state government and reforming our Medicaid system aren’t directly related to funding education – and Valesky doesn’t make the case for a positive impact on education funding even with their indirect relationship. It might be the right answer, but he’s answering the wrong question.

There’s more to education funding that throwing money in or taking it away. Valesky mentions nothing about how we might be using the funds we currently have. Are we spending effectively? Efficiently? Valesky doesn’t bother addressing the billions already on the table.

James DiStefano, Republican

James DiStefano, 49th district, ny state senate candidate

DiStefano did not submit a response.

Grade: F. No response constitutes failure. If DiStefano or his associates would like to submit a paragraph or two on education funding, I’ll post it here.

On the question of education funding, the advantage goes to David Valesky.

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