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Regional forum shines light on school funding crisis 

STILL in Fiscal Peril – This Year's Regional Forum on School Funding Crisis

Event to be held January 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Colonie Central High School

Stakeholders from 47 school districts will converge at Colonie Central High School on January 30 at 6:30 p.m. to continue the unprecedented regional call to action on the fiscal crisis facing public schools, an effort that began last year.

The event, “New York schools STILL in fiscal peril: Our kids can’t wait another year,” picks up where last year’s massive regional advocacy effort left off. It promises to again bring students, parents, teachers, taxpayers, legislators and school leaders together to talk about what is at stake if state leaders do not eradicate the gap elimination adjustment (GEA) and provide adequate and equitable funding for our schools.

The goal of “New York schools STILL in fiscal peril” is to inform public school stakeholders about the state of the crisis and how it equates to lost opportunities for students, and to catalyze grassroots advocacy as the start of the 2014 state legislative session, which is a critical time for voices to be heard.

The event, to begin at 6:30 p.m., will feature the voices of students, teachers, parents, and school leaders, describing how the crisis has affected programs and opportunities that are important to them and their neighbors.

As with last year, the primary focus of the advocacy campaign is to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA – the state policy of withholding promised state aid from districts to meet its fiscal challenges and other budget priorities.

Berne-Knox-Westerlo has lost approximately $5.4 million over this time period. Overall, the 47 districts joining forces on January 30 – representing more than 112,000 students in seven counties— have lost more than $387 million in promised State aid due to the State removing and re-allocating this resource.

“Our district has already begun to develop the school district budget for 2014-2015,” said BKW Interim Superintendent Lonnie Palmer. “We face difficult choices this year, just as this district has made the last four years.”

“This event is an opportunity to see how cuts in funding for education in this state are influencing our region's students,” Palmer added. “It gives our stakeholders another chance to advocate for change and I encourage members of our community to participate.”

The forum is being coordinated by the Superintendent's Legislative Committee of Capital Region and Questar III BOCES on behalf of the student, families, and community members in the 47 districts that make up the two BOCES regions. The snow date for this event is Feb. 3.

Colonie Central High School is located at 1 Raider Blvd. off of Sand Creek Road in Colonie.


What is the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA)?


Interactive GEA Map

Under the GEA, 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. Since it was first introduced for 2010-11, the GEA has schools in the 47-district region $387 million in promised State aid. Here’s how the GEA breaks down for the 47 districts in Capital Region and Questar III BOCES. Click on a red location marker to learn more about the district.