Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced that he helped pass a 2014-15 state budget that increases aid to schools by $1.1 billion (A.8556-D). The final numbers include an additional $251 million increase in Foundation Aid, which had not been increased for several years, and $602 million in restorations to the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), which had reduced aid below previously achieved levels.
School funding has been my main budget priority and the focus of my requests to the Assembly Majority, Assemblymember Steck said. This year we were able to provide dramatically increased funding to enhance the opportunity of our children to get a quality education. The increase to Foundation Aid will ensure that children in less affluent districts get greater educational opportunities, and the restorations to the GEA puts all our districts on the road to recovery from the devastating effects of the 2008 financial crisis.
This budgets school runs give local school districts more of what they need and have been advocating for:
- North Colonie will receive a 6% increase from last year bringing them to $17,171,217;
- South Colonie will receive a 6.21% increase from last year bringing them to $19,501,883;
- Schenectady City School District will receive a 7.71% increase from last year bringing them to $102,379,182;
- Niskayuna will receive a 7.8% increase from last year bringing them to $17,899,452;
- Watervliet will receive a $2 million increase from last year bringing them to $18,075,390;
- Mohonasen will receive a $1 million increase from last year bringing them to $19,141,281.
Steck did note that while steps were taken in this years budget to provide more funding to restore the GEA over what the governor proposed, more work needs to be done. Simply put, the GEA must be eliminated. While a 4 year plan to phase out the GEA was included in the Assemblys budget proposal, the final budget doesnt go as far as Steck wanted, and he said he will continue to fight to end it immediately.
Students in our community will benefit from this tremendous increase in aid, but more work needs to be done, said Assemblymember Steck. Our schools did well in this budget and the investment in their education will pay dividends for the community and even more so once we eliminate the GEA. I am very proud not only to have been a strong advocate for education but for having seen this advocacy translated into results.