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March 6, 2014

School officials renew criticism of Gap Elimination Adjustment

(Continued)

The Milford Board of Education unanimously agreed to sign a letter asking New York to do away with the GEA at the board’s Feb. 26 meeting. The letter is based on one that has also been signed by BOEs in Roxbury and Margaretville. 

Milford Central School has lost $1.7 million in the past four years said Superintendent Peter Livshin.

Livshin said if the GEA were revoked for this upcoming budget year that would mean an additional $125,000 for the Milford School District.

Livshin said in the past four years they have cut some staff members and offer incentives to get teachers to retire early.

“We’ve probably lost three to four teachers and we’ve also gone without replacing teachers who retired,” Livshin said.

The school administrators said they hope the GEA problem will soon disappear.

“We’re hoping that the state does away with the GEA because that would be a big help,” Ryan said.

“The GEA absolutely has to go away and the state has to realize the way that state aid is distributed is no longer fair nor equitable,” Livshin said. “It’s not fair. It’s political.”

“Districts in our area haven’t received the right amount of aid for decades,” Livshin continued.

Until the GEA is revoked, districts are continuing to tighten their budgets and save money wherever they can.

“We’re putting things under a microscope to see how we can be the most efficient and effective,” Ryan said.

In Herkimer County, several schools are holding a Fight For Our Valley Schools tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Herkimer College’s Robert McLaughlin College Center. Herkimer, Poland and Frankfort-Schuyler were among the schools encouraging parents and community members to attend.

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