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Our Opinion

March 21, 2013

Eliminate the gap elimination adjustment

Despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s promise in his budget address to increase funding for education, local school officials are saying they are not receiving enough state aid to fund even basic services.

Cuomo’s budget includes a 4.4 percent increase to school aid across the board, but how the money is doled out is highly variable. Milford Central School Superintendent Peter Livshin said his district is in a “whole lot of trouble” and is cutting to the bare bones.

Since 2010, state funding for school districts has been reduced through the gap elimination adjustment, in which a portion of money that would otherwise go to aid is reserved by the state to pay down its deficit. This year the Senate and Assembly have proposed ending the adjustment by the 2016-17 school year.

Oh, wouldn’t that be great! It certainly would help our local schools. Livshin has been saying for quite a long time that rural schools and small city schools have been short-changed for years on state aid. Enough is enough!

We agree with Livshin about needing to put an end to our local schools being treated like “poor step-children.” We hope the gap elimination adjustment is abolished and back Cooperstown and Milford central schools’ advocacy efforts for its demise.

Last week the state Senate and Assembly proposed additional education spending over Cuomo’s executive budget proposals, though the chambers disagree on how much schools should get.

The Senate has proposed $415 million more school aid than the governor’s $20.8 billion aid package. The Assembly has put forward $81 million less than the Senate, resulting in an $834 increase over last year’s $20.1 billion aid package.

The “Budget for our Future: A Community Forum,” at CCS last week focused on resource sharing and advocacy —particularly for the elimination of the gap elimination adjustment. 

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