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January 30 forum on school funding crisis draws more than 1,000

 

More than 1,000 parents, teachers, administrators, students and community members from 47 school districts gathered on January 30 at Colonie Central High School for "New York schools STILL in fiscal peril: Our kids can't wait another year" for a thought-provoking roundtable discussion about the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) and the effect this significant reduction in aid has had on academic programs and services in the past four years.

Advocacy forum participants urge Governor to end GEA, support equitable and sufficient funding for public education

A panel of teachers, students, school superintendents and board members—moderated by Susan Arbetter, Host of WCNY’s Capitol Pressroom—spoke about what is at stake if state leaders do not eradicate the GEA and provide adequate and equitable funding for our schools. The goal was to inform public school stakeholders about how this crisis equates to lost opportunities for students. Now marks the beginning of the 2014 state legislative session and it is a critical time to make our voices heard.

The primary focus of this year's advocacy campaign is to end the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA – a state policy of withholding promised state aid from districts to meet its fiscal challenges and other budget priorities. In the last four state budgets, the 47 school districts that joined forces on January 30 – representing more than 112,000 students in seven counties – have lost more than $387 million in promised aid in the last four state budgets because of the GEA. Watervliet alone has seen $4 million in state aid withheld through the GEA during that time.

The forum was coordinated by the Superintendent's Legislative Committee of Capital Region and Questar III BOCES on behalf of the students, families, and community members in the 47 districts that make up the two BOCES regions.

If you could not attend the Jan. 30, here is a video recap featuring interviews with Dr. Lori Caplan and WHS senior Kylea Spain talking about what the GEA has done to education in Watervliet schools.

 

image advocacy toolkit

Watervliet City Schools will lose another $500,000+ in 2014-15 under Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed state budget if action is not taken to eliminate the GEA.

 

How can you help?

 

Simple. Be an advocate for our schools! Learn how | Contact our elected officials

 

 

Additional media coverage of the event:

 

School funding protested – Times Union

Educators plead case for more aid – Daily Gazette

Capital Region panel discusses “schools in peril” – WNYT Channel 13

Schools in peril – WRGB Channel 6

47 school district communities discuss state aid cuts – WTEN Channel 10

47 school district communities discuss state aid cuts – WTEN Channel 10 (pre-event coverage)

47 school district communities discuss state aid cuts – WTEN Channel 10 (post-event coverage)

47 school district communities discuss state aid cuts – WXXA Fox 23 News

School finance stress forum tonight – Time Warner Cable News

Rick Timbs and Jim Hoffman discuss forum with Susan Arbetter on Capitol Pressroom radio show syndicated statewide – WCNY

Capitol Confidential Blog A.M. Round-up – Times Union

Below are more links and pictures fro Jan. 30 regional advocacy forum:

 

Pre-event fiscal peril trivia

Video presentation shown at the Jan 30 regional advocacy video

Photos from the event

GEA video