Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado visited New York’s Webutuck Central School District this month, as part of his ongoing effort to ensure rural schools have adequate resources.

Many of the schools in Rep. Delgado’s district in upstate New York serve rural communities that have seen declining student enrollment. A smaller population often means less property tax revenue to fund schools, and without a healthy budget it’s more difficult for schools to be fully staffed or offer specialty classes, like Advanced Placement courses. Webutuck High School has about 218 students, according to Department of Education data, and the vast majority of school districts in rural New York have seen deep declines in enrollment in the last 20 years or so. 

Delgado said his visit to Webutuck Central Schools was a “great [way] to meet students and teachers in Amenia today,” in a post on Facebook.

“Education is the gateway to opportunity for our young people and I’m working to ensure school districts that serve families in rural upstate, like Webutuck, are supported and have the resources they need,” he said.  

The congressman is no stranger to education policy. Last year, Delgado held an education and workforce development “work week” in his district, where staff members met with young people enrolled in workforce development programs, public schools and universities in the area. It also gave his team an opportunity to hear from students and learn about what improvements they would like to see.

Delgado also had two of his bills included in the College Affordability Act, which was introduced in the House last year. The Strengthening Financial Aid for Students Act extends federal aid to non-traditional students who have to work while also seeking their degrees, and the Young Farmer Success Act would add people who work as ranchers and farmers to a public service loan forgiveness program. 

During this visit Delgado spoke to a kindergarten class and observed what students were doing in English, coding and art classes. 

“I always enjoy connecting with young people and hearing directly from them about their priorities,” Delgado said in a statement. “Education is the key to opportunity and I’m committed to making sure our schools are supported and have the resources they need to ensure our children have the brightest future possible.”