Want to learn more about the GEA? Attend a forum, watch a video

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Have you been hearing a lot about the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA, but are not really sure what it is and how it impacts school districts? This video, produced by the Capital Region BOCES Communications Service, might help. The Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) law was first introduced for the 2010-11 fiscal year by then-Governor Paterson 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 has left a hole in many school district budgets — including in Cazenovia — in recent years. In the Executive Budget Proposal for 2014-15, which state lawmakers are currently considering, the GEA is continued. It shows up as a $1.04 million loss of aid for Cazenovia. That’s on top of the $5.86 million the district already has lost to the GEA since 2009. Want to find out what you can do about it? Consider attending one of two community advocacy forums next week in Auburn and North Syracuse. The GEA will be the main focus of both events. The forums on the GEA will feature Dr. Rick Timbs, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium. After the governor released his proposed budget, Dr. Timbs said: “New York school districts have collectively lost $8.4 billion in state aid since the GEA was implemented in the 2009-2010 school year. The GEA was supposed to be a temporary fix — a remedy until there was no gap in the state budget. Now that the gap is gone, it’s time to get rid of the adjustment.’’ Because Cazenovia is part of OCM BOCES, Superintendent Robert Dubik and the Board of Education encourage all parents and community members to attend the advocacy forum scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at North Syracuse Junior High School, located at 5353 W. Taft Road in North Syracuse.

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