The Times
  • Fort Plain superintendent details the district’s loss of money due to gap elimination adjustment

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  • FORT PLAIN — At a board of education meeting on Jan. 8, Fort Plain Central School Superintendent Douglas Burton detailed how the district has lost $3,205,314 from the 2010 - 2011 school year through the 2013 - 2014 school year due to the gap elimination adjustment.
    During that same time period, Montgomery County schools lost an average of $3,914 per student compared to the state average of $3,163, according to numbers from the Statewide School Finance Consortium.
    The gap elimination adjustment was introduced in 2010 as a way for the state government to close its budget deficit. It did so by spreading the funding shortfall around to all school districts through a gap elimination adjustment reduction to the overall foundation aid due to schools.
    Burton also detailed the district’s combined wealth ratio of .377 for 2013 - 2014. As part of the state aid formula, the State Education Department measures the wealth of every school district through the combined wealth ratio. A school district with a combined wealth ratio of 1.0 represents average wealth.
    “Poorer school districts have borne the brunt of gap elimination adjustment reductions to state aid,” Burton said. “Thus, staff, programs and fund balances have been diminished.”
    Ending the gap elimination adjustment is one of the district’s advocacy priorities for 2013 - 2014. District leaders are urging residents to work with legislators to secure fair and adequate funding for students.
    The district suggests the following:
    • Sending letters or emails to the governor and legislators;
    • Participating in a lobbying day in Albany; and
    • Scheduling an in-person meeting with local legislators.
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