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Madrid-Waddington calls for end to state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment

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MADRID — Madrid-Waddington Central School District Board of Education members called on the state Legislature on Tuesday to immediately exempt state aid reserved for education from the calculation of the Gap Elimination Adjustment. School board members unanimously passed a resolution saying the GEA is placing an undue burden on the district.

The GEA was implemented in 2010 as a one-time reduction in education aid to help the state balance its budget. But the GEA has continued in every budget since then.

The GEA is money that is deducted from state aid originally promised to school districts based on state aid formulas. Under the GEA, a portion of the state’s annual education funding shortfall is divided among all school districts throughout the state and reflected as a reduction in school district state aid.

Since its inception, the GEA has reduced state aid to the Madrid-Waddington Central School District by $2,293,069 and contributed to the district’s “financial struggle,” Superintendent Lynn M. Roy said. The reduction in aid has resulted in a cost shift to the school district’s property taxpayers, she said.

“This cost shift has resulted in unsustainable measures to balance the Madrid-Waddington Central School District budgets, including the reduction and elimination of school programs, personnel and services and the reduction of school district fund reserves,” she said.

The resolution was drafted by the Rural Schools Association, which represents approximately one out of every eight public school students enrolled in the state.

The St. Lawrence-Lewis Counties School Superintendents’ Association has also called for an end to the GEA.

The school board plans to submit the resolution to the north country’s state legislators. Along with several other north country school districts, officials said they hoped to discuss the GEA elimination with state lawmakers at a scheduled meeting that was canceled because the legislators did not participate.

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