ALBANY, NY — January 19, 2016 — Staking out its position that the “Gap Elimination Adjustment” (GEA) should be terminated this year, the NYS Senate passed legislation (S.6377) on its first full day session that would completely rescind the GEA. Passing the Senate with a bi-partisan vote of 53-9, the bill moves to restore millions of dollars in lost funds from public school districts. In the past two budget sessions, the GEA has been reduced by more than 60%. However, the remaining balance from GEA is still in excess of $425 million statewide.
“Throughout my tenure in the Senate, I have fought to end the GEA. It is an undue burden unfairly imposed on our schools. It shortchanges our students, limits our teachers, and hampers education,” said Senator George Latimer, (D- Westchester).
The bill passed last week in the State Senate draws a distinction from Governor Cuomo’s proposed 2016-2017 proposed Executive Budget, which would restore 50% of the remaining withheld funds across the entire state. “In our senate district, the total restoration is only 42%, and in several of our school districts the restoration is only about a third. The financial crisis has passed, and it is well past time to make our schools whole,” said Senator Latimer.
For school districts in Senator Latimer’s 37th district, full restoration of GEA funding would amount to more than eleven million dollars in state aid. For Yonkers the GEA amounts outstanding and the governor’s proposed restoration for the coming fiscal year is as follows:
Yonkers Public School District………………..
Total Outstanding GEA…………………………..$5,539,703
Executive Budget 2016-2017 Restoration…$2,954,313
Remain GAP Shortfall…………………………….$2,776,390
Upon being made aware of the outcome regard the GEA that took place in Albany today, Yonkers Board of Education Trustee President Nader Sayegh would have preferred the total elimination of the GEA, but he also advised that since it will not be concluded this year he awaits the GEA concerns to be a non issue the follow year.