With another year of significant state revenue reductions looming for New York state’s public school districts in 2013-14 and more difficult educational decisions to be made, district leaders, educators, legislators, parents and community members from 47 Capital Region school districts are joining together Thursday, Jan. 31, for a forum titled, “Your Public Schools in Fiscal Peril – Running Out of Time & Options,” to help draw attention to the fiscal crisis facing all public schools. The forum will be streamed live for viewers around the state who want to learn more about the magnitude of the crisis collectively facing all schools unless significant action is taken during the 2013 New York state legislative session. The event starts at 6:30 pm, and you can watch it live at Education Speaks. The event will also be live-tweeted by Education Speaks editorial board members. If you’re on Twitter, follow @edspeaksny and #NYSchoolsInPeril to get the live scoop that night! Just like schools all over New York, Cazenovia Central Schools now face the daunting challenge of building a budget that maintains the academic and extra-curricular programs the community has come to expect from Cazenovia, but in the face of declining revenue. While Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2013-14 budget includes a small restoration ($110,788) of the $1.51 million Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) the Cazenovia Central School District has endured for four straight years now, the district still will sustain a $1.4 million loss in aid next year due to the continuation of the GEA in 2013-14. Headlining the forum is Dr. Rick Timbs, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium, who will discuss the importance this legislative session of eliminating the GEA, providing adequate and equitable aid to education, and providing a meaningful measure of mandate relief to school districts. Following Timbs’ presentation, leaders from three vastly different geographical school districts will offer their personal perspectives on how failure to act in Albany will continue to harmfully impact their students next school year, and for years to come. The stark reality The stark reality is that due to these economic circumstances, students who graduated in the Class of 2012 may have received the best education that most school districts will be able to offer for the foreseeable future. With the erosion of state aid across the state, staff has been cut and numerous student programs have been reduced and eliminated. Meaningful mandate relief from Albany, while promised by the governor, has not materialized.