Back in 2010, when New York State faced a $10 billion budget gap, the governor and the legislature enacted the GEA to help address the state deficit. Through this law, schools were forced to help close the state budget gap by giving back large portions of their state aid. This law has been in effect for the past five years and has taken nearly $9.6 billion away from schools during that time.
The governor's 2015/16 Executive Budget proposal projects an estimated $6 billion surplus in the coming year, yet his proposal still calls for taking back over $1 billion in aid to schools to close a state budget gap that no longer exists.
The governor also proposes a "reform agenda" package. He has told legislators that only if they agree to his entire package of reforms - will he give schools an additional $1 billion in aid. However, the GEA - which is STILL INCLUDED in the governor's proposal - will result in yet another $1 billion "take back" of aid - effectively canceling out his proposed increase.
This aid "take back" via the GEA is unnecessary, especially with a projected $6 billion surplus. Schools in the Broome- Tioga BOCES region have forfeited over $155 million in desperately needed school aid since the GEA began in 2010. They have cut staff, closed programs and put off program enhancements. They will give back millions more next year if the GEA is allowed to continue.
The NY State Senate and Assembly are now reviewing the governor's proposal and have the opportunity to offer a counter proposal before a final state budget is adopted on April 1.
Please CLICK HERE to read more about the GEA and please take the time to send an email message to your government representatives, including the governor, to make your voice heard on behalf of our children and families.
I encourage you to share this request with your friends and colleagues. But please hurry! Your advocacy within the next three weeks is important because the budget deadline is April 1.
Allen D. Buyck