Santabarbara: Education Aid Increase, Restoration of GEA in State Budget Agreement

Area schools to see nearly $20 million more in aid

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, announced that this year’s state budget agreement provides a significant increase in education aid and puts an end to the Gap Elimination Adjustment, giving immediate relief to school districts across Upstate New York.

The final budget agreement increases education aid by nearly $1.5 billion and increases Foundation Aid by a record $627 million, which are both above the governor’s proposal. More than $400 million will go toward completely eliminating the GEA, and $340 million will go toward building projects and providing children with reliable transportation to school.

Schools in the 111th Assembly District will see a total increase of nearly $20 million in education aid, including the Schenectady City School District that will receive a boost of $12.4 million, an 11.8 percent increase over last year. In Montgomery Country, all five school districts received aid increases.

“Public education has been and will always be a top priority for me, and this budget provides our public schools with additional resources to help our children succeed in an ever-evolving 21st Century economy,” Assemblyman Santabarbara said. “Although I was not here when the GEA started, I’m here to cast my vote to bring it to an end. Since taking office, I have stood with schools, teachers and parents calling for an end to it, and today we have done just that. Combined with ending the GEA this year – and not over two years as proposed in the governor’s budget – this is another big step forward in the fight for public education and the future of our children. These funds can help make the difference – because the truth is, even if one program is cut, it’s too much and can mean a lost opportunity for a child.”

“We are moving in the right direction with funding for public education. This is another step forward, but the fight continues, and we must keep working to fully fund our public schools and ensure a quality education to all our students no matter where they live or what their zip code is. This isn’t just an investment in our schools and our students – it’s an investment in our communities, our economy and our future.”

In recent months, Assemblyman Santabarbara joined school leaders from across his district including school superintendents, teachers and students from Schenectady and Montgomery counties and a group of community advocates called Fight for Equity and Education in Schenectady Schools in calling for an end to the GEA this year. The governor’s proposed two-year restoration process would have forced school districts to consider additional program cuts.

“The GEA has been crippling our schools for far too long. This is a debt that’s long overdue, and I’m pleased to finally see these funds returned to our schools where they belong,” Santabarbara said. “As a product of public education, I’m proud to fight for the future of public education every day. I will continue to work on behalf of our schools to ensure that all our students receive the quality education they deserve.”