New report echoes findings of 7 On Your Side investigation into underfunded schools

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The Alliance for Quality Education has released a report mirroring the findings of a recent Eyewitness News investigation examining underfunding in a group of schools known as the "Harmed Suburban 5."

The report by AQE offered a "view from the classroom" in 10 financially struggling districts around New York, including one of the Harmed Suburban 5 districts.

That report found widespread issues of state underfunding in rural, suburban and urban schools that shared one common trait: a predominant number of minority students living in poverty.

AQE documented kids in schools without adequate access to a library, limited access to outdated computers, in need of functioning science labs and with a lack of guidance counselors.

Many of these students were also in classrooms with a student-teacher ratio about 40 percent above what's recommended, according to the report.

"We have a real serious problem where the state is neglecting its responsibility to students of color and students in poorer communities, and we are basically locking in inequality," Alliance for Quality Education Executive Director Billy Easton said. "We are hoping that legislators, the public, and the governor understand, 'OK, here is the impact when they underfund our schools.'"

Education spending is one of the major sticking points in Albany as lawmakers try to finalize the budget for the upcoming fiscal year by April 1.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed increasing education spending by about 40 percent less than lawmakers.

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