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North Syracuse to Host Forum Regarding School Funding Crisis

Monday, January 26, 2015

As school districts across New York State start to work on their budgets, they are once again facing a big unknown – how much state aid will we receive this year? And when that question is finally answered, many school districts will be forced to eliminate programs and jobs, and ultimately raise taxes. The balance between providing students with the best education possible while also keeping taxpayers in mind when making financial decisions has become more and more difficult each year.

Right now, more than 80 percent of school districts across the state are facing high fiscal stress as they prepare their budgets. One of the biggest factors impacting state aid is what is known as the Gap Elimination Adjustment – a state fiscal gimmick that for the past four years has withheld billions of dollars in legally entitled state aid from school districts across the state.

The Liverpool Central School District has lost more than $43 million since the 2010-2011 school year because of Gap Elimination Adjustments. Like you, I can think of a lot of things that we could do with that money. It could help the district maintain the programs and services it offers to our students, keep teachers and support staff in our classrooms, and provide some relief to taxpayers.

This is a confusing and complex topic, which is why the Central New York School Boards Association, OCM BOCES and CiTi (Oswego) BOCES will host a forum to educate parents, students, community members and educators about how these funding issues impact educational opportunities for our children. The forum will take place on Thursday, February 5, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at North Syracuse Junior High School.

Called “Our Schools Remain at Risk,” the forum is open to all parents, students, community members and educators from school districts (including Liverpool) within the OCM BOCES and CiTi (Oswego) BOCES boundaries.

The event will feature Dr. Rick Timbs, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium. Dr. Timbs will boil down the complexities of state aid into an easy-to-understand format that will clearly illustrate how Liverpool and our neighboring school districts have been negatively impacted for years by Albany’s unfair distribution of state aid, loss of aid due to yearly Gap Elimination Adjustments, and a lack of substantial mandate relief. Those in attendance also will receive tools, information and insights that will arm and inspire them to be effective advocates for our children.

I encourage you to join us on February 5 to learn more about this topic and how you can be a part of the budget process.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mark F. Potter
Superintendent of Schools

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