GEA Restoration Would Take Two Generations of Students Based on Governor's Proposal

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ALBANY, NY (03/25/2014)(readMedia)-- The New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO) examined the amount of school aid still owed to school districts under the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) and what the Governor proposed in GEA restorations for school year 2014-15.

The analysis shows that given the rate and distribution proposed for school districts by the Governor in his Executive Budget recommendations for 2014-15, that some districts will have to wait up to 40 years to eliminate the reductions imposed by the Gap Elimination Adjustment. Individual districts fare very differently (see attached spreadsheet).

For school districts other than the Big 5 city school districts, the reductions in GEA amount to $1.1 billion. These same school districts have proposed levy increases for 2014-15 of $392 million . Thus, if the State fully restored the GEA, there would be no need for tax increases this year.

Looking at selected counties illustrates this disparity. If school districts in Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Onondaga, Suffolk and Westchester counties continue to receive the same amounts as proposed by the Executive, it will take from 14 to 24 years to fully restore the cuts imposed over the past four years (see attached chart).

"This analysis underscores two main points: 1) there would no need for the property tax freeze if the GEA was fully restored, and 2) the state should first pay down its debt to public schools before embarking on any new initiatives that divert scarce public resources from public education, like universal pre-k, tax credits for donations to private schools and allowing charter schools to access building aid", stated Michael J. Borges, NYSASBO Executive Director.

"These new initiatives proposed by state policymakers are not fiscally prudent and pander to selected special interests at the expense of the public good," concluded Mr. Borges.