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Aid to school districts in New York continues to change

BKW’s state aid distribution increases, but remains behind 2006-07 levels

Compared to last school year, many districts across the state of New York are seeing an increase in state aid; BKW will receive about $460,000 more net state aid* in 2013-14 than the current school year. While this increase in aid has helped the district adopt a proposed budget that maintains programming with no tax levy increase, it comes after five years of devastating reductions to revenue sources and hard programmatic choices BKW has already faced. Just how is BKW funded? What changes in state funding have occurred that have influenced district decisions this year and in past years?

 

Source of Revenue for Schools

There are only two main sources of revenue for schools in New York; state aid and taxes. As major adjustments in state aid distributions have been implemented since 2009, including the Gap Elimination Adjustment and tax levy limit, districts across the state have been pressured to raise taxes, cut programs and staff, or make other adjustments to cut spending. Many districts, including BKW, have had to do a combination of all three.

“While BKW has implemented numerous cost-saving measures that have allowed us to become more efficient, efficiency will reach its maximum eventually,” said Superintendent Dr. Paul Dorward. “Recent budget seasons have been difficult because we don’t want to burden our taxpayers, but, we also know how important it is to provide our children with the resources they need to be prepared for higher education and the work force. In recent years, there have been very few easy choices.”

 

The Gap Elimination Adjustment

The Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) law was first introduced in the 2010-11 fiscal year as a way to help close New York’s then $10 billion budget deficit. Under the legislation, a portion of the funding shortfall at the state level is divided among all school districts throughout the state and reflected as a reduction in school district state aid.

The GEA is a negative number, money that is deducted from the aid originally due to the district. This year, BKW saw an increase in aid to the district, but is projected to lose about $1.2 million in aid to the GEA. Since the program began three years ago, the total GEA reduction in school aid for BKW amounts to $5.4 million.

 

VIDEO: More about the Gap Elimination Adjustment

 

[Read more about the district's budget, tax information and general budget topics]