April 30, 2014
Many school districts across the state of New York will see an increase in state aid next year. BKW will receive about $543,663 more state aid in 2014-15 than the current school year. While this increase in aid has helped the district adopt a proposed budget that adds to programming with no tax levy increase, it comes after years of devastating reductions to revenue sources that have led to difficult programmatic choices.
Source of revenue for schools
There are two main sources of revenue for schools in New York; state aid and taxes. As major adjustments have been implemented to sources of revenues since 2009, including the Gap Elimination Adjustment and the tax levy limit, districts across the state have have had to raise taxes, cut programs and staff, or make other adjustments to reduce spending. Many districts, including BKW, have done a combination of all three.
“It’s been difficult to find funds for program improvements with the slow restoration of state aid, and few options left for non-instructional reductions,” said Interim Superintendent Lonnie Palmer. “It is important to provide students with the resources they need to be prepared for higher education and the work force. There are no easy choices.”
The Gap Elimination Adjustment
The Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) was introduced in 2010-11 as a way to help close New York state’s then $10 billion budget deficit. Through the GEA, a portion of the funding shortfall at the state level is divided among all school districts and reflected as a reduction in state aid to schools.
For five years, the GEA has been deducted annually from the aid amount originally due to the district. In 2014-15, BKW will see aid to the district increase, but is still projected to lose about $948,061 in aid to the GEA. Since the program began five years ago, the total GEA reduction in school aid for BKW amounts to $6.4 million.