PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- The Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District expects the state will withhold $16.6 million in court-mandated aid to our schools, according to the presentation for the preliminary budget for 2015-2016 that was presented at the Board of Education meeting on March 3.
This follows last year's loss of $16.6 million in state aid.
Put another way, Port Chester receives only 43 percent of the aid for which the district is legally entitled.
The reductions are because of the Gap Elimination Adjustment first implemented in 2010 by then- Gov. David Paterson. It was introduced for the 2010-11 fiscal year as a way to help close New York’s then $10 billion budget deficit. Under the law, a portion of the funding shortfall at the state level is divided among all school districts throughout the state and reflected as a reduction in school district state aid.
Essentially, it’s a "take-back" by the state of aid originally due to school districts.
If Albany increases the aid to 60 percent of the mandate, that would mean $5 million more to improve educational programs and support students and taxpayers.
The budget negotiations in Albany have begun and there is only a brief window to ensure that the community gets the fair share. Albany responds to voter opinions.
The school district requests residents to write, email, and call state officials now and tell them to eliminate the Gap Elimination Adjustment and restore Foundation Aid now that there's a surplus. The goal is to have 2,000 more letters in hand to give to State Sen. George Latimer and Assemblyman Steve Otis.
In addition, officials are requesting that residents sign an online petition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and the legislative leaders. Access the petition here.