ECASB news

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The call continues, end GEA

The Erie County Association of School Boards (ECASB) is focused on educating community members and legislators about the negative impact of the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) on schools across the country. People have taken notice and spoken up but the elected, unpaid, school board members who comprise ECASB stress that the momentum needs to continue.

"These are the final days until the anticipated state budget adoption," said Scott Johnson, Sweet Home Board of Education President and Legislative Team Leader for ECASB. "Our representatives need to hear that siphoning $482 million out of Erie County classrooms to fill a non-existent deficit is reprehensible and has to stop."

Since ECASB's call to action in February, dozens of rallies have popped up locally, mirroring concerns of communities across the state. Participation at the rallies has ranged from 50 to many hundreds of people, but it was the ECASB's county-wide "Fund Our Schools" Rally on March 12 that provided a regional perspective on fair taxes, fair funding and a fair state aid formula.

David Little, executive director of the Rural Schools Association and keynote for the rally, provided background on state funding and described real-life consequences of GEA by addressing the elephant in the room. How is it that New York State can spend so much on education, but there are so many school districts that do not have sufficient funding?    

"Why do we have impoverished school districts? Because New York State has the 45th worst (funding) distribution system in the country'" said Little. "Because what a community can afford to spend on it's public education system bears no relationship to the amount the state has decided to allot to it."  

He explained that while some schools are cutting "brunch with Broadway stars," poor districts are worried about students being accepted into college due to cuts in academic courses.

"Over the past five years Gap Elimination Adjustment has taken $26 million away from our district," said Tracy Peron, PTA Council president at Big Tree Elementary School in Frontier Central School District." To deal with this deficit, staff has been reduced, programs have been cut or lost including libraries, music, art and extracurricular activities."

Ryan Lotocki, student government president at Frontier High School, also vented his frustration at the rally. "He (the governor) sees me as an opportunity to increase state revenue, rather than increase my state of mind through thought-provoking discourse."

Mr. Little reminded community members that there are many organizations worthy of state funding, but education is the state's constitutinal duty.          

Cutline: ECASB Legislative Team Leader Scott Johnson (Sweet Home BOE) displays the Fair Funding letter that will be sent to area legislators    

Posted on Thursday, 26 March 2015 09:37

 

Advocating Fair Funding for Schools

ECASB Legislative Team Leader Scott Johnson (Sweet Home BOE) displays the Fair Funding letter that will be sent to area legislators

Some 170 school board members, superintendents, parents and the community members attended an Advocacy Training session to help their school-communities gear up efforts for "Fair Taxes, Fair Funding and a Fair Formula" for area school districts. The united advocacy effort was spurred by the continuing loss of funds via the state's Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) which has diverted school aid back to the state for more than five years. Ending the GEA was not addressed in the Governor's Executive Budget, in which he refused to release state aid runs and made levels of school aid contingent upon blanket acceptance of a series of reforms which he said are needed because of New York State's "failing" public schools.

The vast majority of public schools in New York State are NOT failing, said Erie County Association of School Boards Director Jane Burzynski. "What has failed miserably is the State's inequitable distribution of school funding, and the now notorious practice of diverting school aid back into its own coffers."   

On Thursday, March 12, the school boards association is spearheading a RALLY for OUR SCHOOLS, calling for Fair Taxes, Fair Funding and a Fair Formula. It starts at 7 p.m. at West Seneca East Middle School, 1445 Center Road, West Seneca. The purpose is to call attention to the education funding taken from area schools by the state's Gap Elimination Adjustment over the past several years, and the other practices that continue to diminish state funding for the region's public schools, and put greater burden on the local property taxpayers. The Rally is an initiative of the Erie County Association of School Boards, in partnership with the Rural Schools Association of New York State, the Western Region PTA, and Erie-Niagara School Superintendents, and the WNY Educational Service Council.

"Our school communities need to know what GEA is, what it has done and how important it is to eliminate it. It's time to start restoring the funding the state has diverted from public schools and level the playing field with a fair formula for aid distribution, with less reliance on the local property tax," said Mrs. Burzynski.   


   

Posted on Friday, 06 March 2015 10:19

 

ECASB Prospective School Board Workshop

'Anyone ever tell you you'd make a great school board member?'
Provided as a public service by the Erie County Association of School Boards on Saturday, March 28, 2015. Registration: 8:15-8:30 a.m. Program: 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., at Erie 1 BOCES Education Campus, 355 Harlem Rd., West Seneca - Conference Room B-1 

Posted on Friday, 20 March 2015 08:42

   

200+ Attend Fair Funding Rally

Some two hundred + people attended the Rally for Fair Funding at West Seneca East Middle School sponsored by the Erie County Association of School Boards in partnership with the Rural Schools Association of New York State, Western Region PTA, the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents Association, and the WNY Educational Service Council. David Little, Executive Director of the Rural Schools Association, outlined the issues confronting school districts: funding raked back by New York State over the past five years through its Gap Elimination Adjustment, frozen Foundation Aid, a flawed aid formula, and inequitable distribution of funding that has left many school districts under-funded, despite being in a top-spending state in the country when it comes to education. Attendees signed giant letters to legislators, itemizing steps that must be taken to fund schools fairly.

Posted on Friday, 20 March 2015 08:13

 

Online Petition for Gap Elimination Adjustment

wbuttongap.jpg - 36.02 Kb
Click the logo above to join this online petition drive to let the NYS Legislature know that full funding of education, including doing away with the Gap Elimination Adjustment, needs to be addressed now.

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

ECASB Member Letters to Legislators



 

Posted on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 13:42

   

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