Sheila Schwartz 0

ELIMINATE GEA NOW - SAVE Valley Central School

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We, the undersigned citizens of Valley Central School District, Montgomery, New York, urge you to fully restore education aid to NYS schools by ending the GAP ELIMINATION ADJUSTMENT (GEA) in the 2014-2015 state budget. This is not a request for new or additional funds for education, but a call for funding already promised, but not delivered.

Currently, total state education aid remains below the level provided to NYS school districts in 2008-09, while at the same time expectations for educational outcomes and accountability have increased dramatically with the adoption of the Common Core Learning Standards and the implementation of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR). To say that New York schools are being asked to do more with less is a gross understatement.

Since the GEA was enacted in 2008, Valley Central has lost $24,200,000 in funding. That has translated into a 24.1% reduction in staff including a loss of 98 teaching positions, major program cuts including: closing a village elementary school, reducing Kindergarten to half day, cutting Reading Recovery and severely reducing Literacy Collaborative, eliminating art and music at elementary level, cutting JV and Modified sports, JROTC, Elementary Library, Elementary Chorus and Band, the third grade swim program and All District Concert. These words cannot convey the quality of staff and program that the students of Valley Central have lost over the tenure of the GEA. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Over the past decade, New York State aid for education has decreased sharply,* requiring schools to rely more heavily on property taxes and other local revenues to maintain educational standards. School districts, with the exception of a few select wealthy districts, cannot raise enough money locally to maintain adequate staffing and programs, much less to raise education standards to “college and career readiness” as charged by the Commissioner of Education, Dr. John King.

State spending has increased from $116B to $133B over the past five years, yet not a penny of that increased spending has gone to public schools.

Give Valley Central and all New York State schools the aid needed to educate our students, aid already promised to schools, but then taken away after the fact through the GEA. Say “NO” to further unfunded mandates and “YES” to equal educational opportunities for all students.

We call on you to act now to:

Restore $1.6 billion in educational funding for the 2014-2015 school year by immediately eliminating all remaining Gap Elimination Adjustments

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