The Division of the Budget released state aid runs for school districts across the state today. It is being reported that the overall increase in aid for school districts is $1.33 billion, an estimated 6 percent increase. This includes an increase in Foundation Aid and a 58 percent restoration of the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) statewide. However, BH-BL falls below the state average increase and is projected to receive a 2.7 percent increase in state aid in the 2015-2016 school year.
Overall, the state budget restored $603 million of the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). This represents 58 percent of the yearly deduction in aid that has been assessed to districts for each of the past six years to cover the state deficit. The extent to which the GEA was restored differed from district to district. Some districts are seeing as much as 98 percent of the GEA restored. BH-BL will see only 36 percent of its GEA restored, or $535,430. Under the state’s budget BH-BL will continue to have a GEA of $-921,301.
“This continued withholding of state aid to BH-BL through the GEA in a time of surplus in the overall New York State budget continues to be an item of great concern,” says Assistant Superintendent for Support Services Christopher Abdoo. “We had hoped that a greater amount of the GEA would have been restored.”
BH-BL also received a $47,382 increase in Foundation Aid (0.37 percent). District-specific increases in Foundation Aid statewide ranged from a low of 0.37 percent to a high of 15 percent.
The district’s 2015-2016 expenditure-driven aid categories (BOCES, transportation, special education and building aid) are approximately the same as the total amount BH-BL is scheduled to receive in this school year.
The net result is a 2.7 percent state aid increase totaling $540,224.
“It’s disappointing that the only real increase that BH-BL received was a partial reduction to what is being withheld in state aid through the GEA,” says Superintendent Patrick McGrath. “However, now that we have the numbers, we will continue to work hard to build a budget that maintains quality programs and services for our students and that is fiscally responsible to our taxpayers by staying below our tax levy limit.”
The nearly complete 2015-16 budget proposal will be presented at the Public Budget Forum on Tuesday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the O’Rourke Middle School cafetorium.
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