The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Fix the GEA to help school districts

Democratic Capital Region state legislators assembled on Wednesday morning to advocate a plan that would end the pain school districts feel from the state's Gap Elimination Adjustments.

To highlight their concerns, the legislators wrote a letter to the state Legislature's leaders and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. A copy of that letter is available below.

The event was spearheaded by Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, who stressed the need for a well-funded public education system. She argued that the current model, which strips schools of funding through the GEA is failing students.

"The foundation aid formula gives the school money. There is another formula, called the Gap elimination adjustment that takes money out of schools," she said. "The GEA as we call it was implemented in the 2010-2011 budget ... as a way to help close the state's 10 billion budget gap. It was supposed to be a one time cut in education funding. Unfortunately, these cuts have continued."

Tkaczyk, Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Delmar, and Assembly members Phil Steck, D-Colonie, Patricia Fahhy, D-Albany, and John McDonald, D-Cohoes, advanced a plan to fix the inequities of the GEA.

Those plans were laid out in a news release:

• Distribute the $203 million in Fiscal Stabilization Funding through an equitable restoration of GEA funds that ensures prioritization of high needs and average need school districts in all regions of the
• Reallocate the $50 million in management efficiency and performance improvement grant funds to the GEA restoration distribution;
• Ensure that any additional money targeted for bullet aid (more than $41 million in the last two budgets) or any unused funds from the 2012-13 competitive grant allocation go to the GEA restoration distribution;
• Adjust the formulas for GEA restoration and additional foundation aid to maximize equity based upon fiscal capacity and student need,
• Add $350 million in new school aid funding and prioritize high and average needs districts.

A full story on this news conference will be in the Thursday issue of the Daily Gazette.

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Gap Elimination Adjustment letter by

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