Democratic state senate candidate John Orzel is painting a grim picture of the financial situation facing New York's school districts.

Orzel, a Whitney Point resident, is challenging Republican Senator Thomas Libous.

In testimony prepared for a state education reform commission, Orzel compares the current state of public education in New York to being on the Titanic after it has slammed into the iceberg.

Orzel equates the iceberg to the two percent property tax cap. Although the tax cap represented a lifeline for state property taxpayers, Orzel says school boards and educators wound up being thrown a figurative straight jacket.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program, Orzel said he finds the crisis facing public education in New York "alarming." He said he hasn't seen much being done to address the issues.

Orzel said he believes New York state should alter the way public education is financed. He is calling on the state to use earned and investment income as the basis to raise the money needed to pay school employees.

Orzel acknowledged many questions would have to be addressed before the state could move to adopt such a plan. But he maintained something must be done because of the growing pressure being placed on property owners, even with the recently-adopted tax cap.

Orzel was a public high school teacher for 34 years before he retired.