Dear Community Member/Parents,
State funding to our schools has been severely shortchanged for 5 years now. Districts, even small ones, are owed millions by the state. The reason for the shortchange is the state’s use of an accounting maneuver called the Gap Elimination Adjustment (“GEA”). Back in the recession of 2009, the state had trouble balancing its budget, and decided to take money from what was legally due to public school districts. (The state “eliminated” its “gap” in this way.) For unknown reasons, the state has continued this practice of underfunding schools every year since — even as the state promotes that it has a budget surplus. But that practice must end now.
Our schools are at a financial breaking point. Class sizes are growing as teachers are laid off; academic, extracurricular and sports programs are at risk; and rainy-day reserve funds are being exhausted. We desperately need these funds that are rightfully ours. The NY Suburban Consortium for Public Education, an advocacy group of concerned parents and educators in our region, has put together a letter that asks our legislators to Eliminate the GEA and Restore Our School Aid.
Please copy and paste the letter below and send to Governor Cuomo and our state legislators: Eliminate the GEA. The funding and integrity of our children’s public education is at stake!
|Town of Ossining||Town of Mount Pleasant|
|NYS Senator – 38th District David Carlucci
|NYS Senator – 40th District Greg Ball
|NYS Assemblyperson – 95th District Sandy Galef
|NYS Assemblyperson – 92nd District Thomas Abinanti
New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King
New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch
New York State Govenor Andrew Cuomo
Subject: Eliminate the GEA & Restore our School Aid!
Dear Governor Cuomo and New York State Legislators,
As a voter, tax payer and parent in the Briarcliff Manor School District in Westchester County, I urge you to repeal the Gap Elimination Adjustment (“GEA”). In 2009, the State used the GEA to redirect money that was due to public schools to help the State with its budget shortfall. This reallocation has continued to reduce school aid every year since, including this year, even as the State promotes that it has a budget surplus! Withholding state aid due to public schools is harming the State’s ability to provide a free and appropriate public education to its students, and is shifting an unacceptable financial burden onto the local tax payers. The GEA reduction in my school district’s budget since inception through 2014-2015 totals $2.79 million dollars.
At the same time, the state is increasing our school’s cost by creating unfunded mandates which force us to pay for expenditures that we have no control over and feel that we don’t need. As a result, we see our class sizes growing; our academic, extracurricular, sports and arts programs being cut back; and our reserve funds being strained. Restoring our GEA funds is critical to the health of our public schools and will help to provide our district with the ability to manage our finances over the long term. I am asking you, as our elected representatives, to be our voice in Albany and take effective action.
Now is the time for you to work together with your colleagues to Eliminate the GEA and Restore Our School Aid!
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.