Monday, February 25, 2013

Gap Elimination Adjustment Video: An Explanation

The following is from Education Speaks: Moving the Conversation Forward at
You’ve heard a lot over the last few months about the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA, and how it has severely impacted school districts across New York state. Introduced in 2010 by then Governor David Paterson, the GEA was supposed to be a temporary solution to closing the state’s $10 billion budget deficit. Instead, it has wreaked havoc on school district budgets, leading to countless program reductions and job cuts. Want to learn why? Check out the video below that explains the GEA and the specific impact it continues to have on schools.

Here’s what each of us in PTA can do:
  • Become informed: The Governor proposes an increase of $889 million for education, yet imposes new requirements on eligibility to receive these funds. We have studied this budget and published our analysis on the NYS PTA website, or read it directly by clicking here.
  • Identify local challenges: Your Board of Education is right in the middle of the most difficult discussions they will have had in our lifetime. Get a sense of the most crucial local issues
  • Set a priority: Your Board of Education will be deluged with all kinds of requests. See if your units or council can come up with one or two positions that you believe are so critical, it would be difficult for the school to effectively accomplish its mission without them. BUT, keep your priority discussions program related to stay away from specific collective bargaining issues.
  • Attend School Board meetings: This is hard. They aren’t always held at convenient times and we all have many other commitments. Keep in mind, however, that others will be there. If your voice isn’t at the table, others’ will be. This is a critical time. Your time will be well spent and the last thing we want is for our children to be “on the menu”.
  • Ask questions: Use our resources and don’t hesitate to call or email team members if you have a question. Remember, school board members are people too and for most of them, their primary objective is to make everybody happy.
Don’t be discouraged or intimidated. This is a critical year but it’s also a time of opportunity. Use our resources and insist on being an in-formed and engaged part of the discussion. Our children depend on us and nobody is in a better position to represent them.   

Thank you for your advocacy!

Lana Ajemian, President
Reflect the past, Transform today, Inspire tomorrow!