"Our Lansing representatives are pushing hard to restore the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA)," Pettograsso told the school board Monday. "The GEA is a loss of funding that school districts started to see ain 2010. Our message to our representatives was to not only say how much the GEA affected the education we are able to deliver in Lansing, but it happened at the same time as the value of the Cayuga Power Plant decreased significantly. It was a significant hit for us in 2010 and 2011. We've been making budget reductions."
On top of those revenue reductions Pettograsso said that new unfunded mandates have come down from the State Education department during the same time period.
The visits to Lansing representatives coincided with a NYSSBA (New York State School Boards Association) conference. Pettograsso live-tweeted from the event, and told the board they could get a flavor of what occurred there in her Twitter feed (click here to view Chris Pettograsso's twitter feed).
The two issues in Albany that most impact local school districts are the Gap Elimination Adjustment that is essentially a convoluted State effort to restore monies promised to school districts but not paid, and the 2% Tax Cap law, which limits the amount of taxes districts may levy... except it doesn't. These two videos (see more on these topics at http://educationspeaks.org/ ) attempt to make sense of them:
New York State's Property Tax Cap
Gap Elimination Adjustment Explained: New York State 2014
School officials plan to join Town of Lansing officials when they go to Albany to advocate for repowering the Cayuga Power Plant with natural gas. A planned trip last Monday was postponed because Public Service Commission members were not available to talk to Lansing representatives that day. Town Supervisor Kathy Miller said last week she is continuing to work on scheduling a trip as soon as possible.
Meanwhile Pettograsso and McGreevey are trying to get the public involved in advocating for the school district. A school advocacy forum has been scheduled for next Tuesday (March 18th) from 6pm to 7:30pm in the Lansing High School Cafeteria. All community members are encouraged to attend.
"We're going to continue our advocacy efforts," Pettograsso said. "We'll continue to fill you in on that."