ECASB news

'Equity, not adequacy, is the funding issue'

Did you know that $1 out of every $10 spent on education in the U.S. is spent in New York State? So said David Little, Executive Director of the Rural Schools Association, at the ECASB "Albany Update" Winter Dinner program. "Equity, not adequacy, is the funding issue," he said. New York State is not in a position to institute new taxes even if it wanted to, he said, noting "We already have every tax in the nation, and we tax it at the highest rates."

He warned that the first year after a governor's re-election is "horrible for state aid." One third of the discretionary portion of state funding is in education, he said, so that first year is spent recalibrating the budget...because it will have to be increased again as it gets closer to the next election. Mitigating factors this year are the state's structural surplus and budgetary windfall from financial sanctions. To those who say the $5 billion financial windfall should not be used to fund ongoing expenses, he counters that it could be used for some one-time shots that would help, such as long-term debt or up-front payments for pre-school. Rather than requiring districts to front money they don't have, with reimbursement to come later, he suggests the state front the money. It is money the state would be spending anyway, he points out. He suggested that the next fight will be what the funding formula looks like moving forward. Regarding education funding, he noted the state's Constitutional obligation for adequate funding.

"This is the state's deal, the state is responsible to pay for it. The only reason you (school districts) exist is the state figures it's the best way to provide its responsibility. You're a franchise and you're being underfunded by the home office." With districts' financial obligations more than they can raise under the tax cap, the state has "set up a system to systematically deconstruct your public education system at the same time it's trying to execute massive change, with Common Core..."

David Little, center, with ECASB President Dr. Carol Nowak, and Legislative Team Leader Scott Johnson, Sweet Home Board of Education. 

ECASB member districts can hear more from Dave Little and how they can respond at the ECASB Legislative Advocacy Session on Saturday, Feb. 28. Districts will be able to send up to 10 registrants for training as an advocacy team.   



  

Posted on Friday, 16 January 2015 09:27

 

WNY Delegation Commits to Elimination of GEA

Members of WNY Delegation Commit to Elimination of GEA;
ECASB 'State of the Schools Report' Goes to Governor and Assembly Speaker

What's the GEA and what has it done to your school district? The "Gap Elimination Adjustment" began as a budget balancing diversion of funds away from schools to help NYS during the budget crisis. It has since become NYS's annual practice of taking money from school districts. ECASB's"State of the Schools" report provides "thumbnail" sketches of what this has done to our member districts in Erie County. Cumulatively, these districts have lost $482 million to the Gap Elimination Adjustment over the past five years. This played a large role in the elimination of some 1700-some jobs from Erie County school districts, and the programs that went with them.
 
Several members of the WNY Delegation met with representatives from ECASB member districts to voice their support to stop the GEA and its annual draining of school funds. This video shows excerpts of statements from Senators Gallivan and Kennedy, and Assembly representatives Corwin, Kearns, Ryan and Schimminger,  Although unable to attend this session, Senator Ranzenhofer  sent this letter to Gov. Cuomo, urging him to end the GEA in his budget proposal.

What's gone? The report profiles the losses in each district:  Entire business programs, job coaching for special needs students, science and arts electives, sports and music, academic intervention services, study groups, academic and career centers and Regents review classes. In many districts, some of our brightest students are sitting in study halls rather than classes, because the teachers who would have taught them are no longer there. Some of our most academically needy students no longer have elementary summer school or late buses for after-school academic programs. Math and reading support has been reduced or eliminated in several districts. Specifics are listed in this report.

ECASB will continue to press for mandate relief, and we will continue to advocate for efficiencies and shared services where feasible among school districts - we consider these the true tools to reduce local property tax levies - but meanwhile, many of our Erie County school districts are in dire financial straits.  With New York State now operating on a surplus, we urgently need to have the Gap Elimination Adjustment eliminated. While the GEA has been scaled back, it still drains essential funding from systems already weakened by this regressive practice. Eliminating the GEA is essential to returning fiscal stability and program integrity to our schools.

Posted on Monday, 12 January 2015 12:38

 

Legislators Advocate for Restoration of GEA Aid Withheld by NYS

ECASB Schools Lost $483M Lost to NYS's School Aid Takeback
“More than 1700 jobs disappeared from Erie County School Districts over the past five years, many due to the $482.9 million that has been taken from school districts by New York State in a financial diversion called the ‘Gap Elimination Adjustment’ (GEA),” said Jane Burzynski, Erie County Association of School Boards (ECASB) Director of Programs and Services in releasing a report on the GEA's impact on ECASB member school districts. See the report here.

Several Superintendents and school board members gathered to review the report and meet with WNY legislators to press for elimination of the GEA, which began as a one year attempt by New York State at the start of the Great Recession to help put its own financial house in order. "Since then, it has simply become the annual withholding of school funding," said Mrs. Burzynski.

Read more: Legislators Advocate for Restoration of GEA Aid Withheld by NYS

Posted on Friday, 24 October 2014 11:29

   

Online Petition for Gap Elimination Adjustment

END_THE_GAP_LOGO

Two teachers at Lake Shore have set up this online petition drive to let the NYS Legislature know the  funding of education, specifically the Gap Elimination Adjustment, needs to be addressed now.


Click here or on the logo above to sign the petition!

Posted on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 15:12

 

GEA News

Behind the Numbers of New York State's
Gap Elimination Adjustment
What It Means in the Depew School District
What It Means in the Ken-Ton School District
What It Means in the Lake Shore SD (Superintendent James Przepasniak)
What It Means in the Lake Shore SD (Assistant Supt. Admin/Finance Dan Pacos)

Posted on Thursday, 13 March 2014 12:40

   

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