Press-Republican

Local News

February 17, 2014

Area schools push for more aid

CHAMPLAIN — Area schools are urging the state to provide districts with a more adequate level of funding.

The Northeastern Clinton Central School Board has adopted a resolution calling for an end of the Gap Elimination Adjustment for the next two years and for the state to place top priority on doing so for less wealthy districts, particularly those in this region.

GAP IN AID

NCCS Interim Superintendent A. Paul Scott explained that the adjustment — in effect for the past four years — has allowed the state to cut aid to schools and apply the money to other areas of its budget.

“Some of the formula-based aid that has been identified that this school district should receive travels back to Albany, so that Albany can refocus that money on other initiatives that apparently are identified as even more important,” Scott told meeting attendees.

“And some have suggested that’s why the state’s saying it has a $2 billion surplus, because it is siphoning money from formula-based aid.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal calls for continued use of the adjustment in 2014-15.

SHORTAGE: $1.5 BILLION

The resolution also noted that the New York State Educational Conference Board, made up of several statewide education groups, determined the state’s schools would need a total of $1.5 billion in new formula aid, in addition to tax levies, to sustain current education programs.

The board urged the governor and legislature to provide at least that amount in additional funding to districts in the upcoming school year.

“The January 2014 Executive Budget proposal would place the Northeastern Clinton Central School District in an exceedingly poor financial position,” the resolution stated.

NACS ACTION

Northern Adirondack Central School, which stands to lose $359,000 to the adjustment in 2014-15, also recently adopted a similar resolution, according to Superintendent Laura Marlow.

“We feel strongly that the elimination of the (adjustment) will allow us to remain educationally solvent in the years ahead,” she told the Press-Republican in an email.

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