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City School district looks to bring back defunct afterschool programs

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Ogdensburg City School Board of Education members are working to bring back some beloved after school programs after years of stringent budget cuts.

School Board Vice President Michael J. Tooley asked administrators Monday to survey students about which programs they would most like see school resurrect.

Board of Education members will then form a committee to investigate ways of bringing back programs such as Earth and Art Club which have been lost over the years, Mr. Tooley said.

The move is inspired by retired OFA teacher William Merna who offered to pay for the advisor for the Whiz Quiz program so that Ogdensburg Free Academy can participate in WPBS’s tournament next year.

The school is hoping local business, community groups and other parents will follow Mr. Merna’s lead and pick up the torch.

Administrators estimate that close to 20 extracurricular programs have been cut in the last eight years due to losses incurred by the state’s redistribution of state aid or Gap Elimination Adjustment, Superintendent Timothy M. Vernsey has said.

The Gap Elimination Adjustment 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.

Including the 2014-15 school year’s proposed adjustment, the district’s total aid lost to the Gap Elimination Adjustments is $6,318,394 since the 2010-11 school year.

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