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Westchester Schools Demand End To State's Gap Elimination Cuts

Jere Hochman is the school superintendent at the Bedford Central School District.
Jere Hochman is the school superintendent at the Bedford Central School District. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
George Stone is the school superintendent at the Lakeland School District.
George Stone is the school superintendent at the Lakeland School District. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Some Westchester school districts are pushing for the elimination of a formula in the state budget that has reduced education funding by $306.45 million county wide in the last four school years.

The Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) was introduced in 2010 to help cut the state’s $10 billion budget deficit. Since then, it has reduced the total state aid to the 41 Westchester school districts by $306.45 million, and by $137.4 million in the 2013-2014 school year alone, according to the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association.

Now, the association is asking each school district to adopt a resolution that demands the state eliminate the GEA. Bedford passed such a resolution in early March, and the Lakeland Central School District plans to introduce one at its meeting this Thursday night.

“We agree with everyone else that we would love to have that funding back in place,” Lakeland School Superintendent George Stone said. “We’ve worked really hard at maintaining sound financial practices so that we’ve been able to try and work through this situation.”

Lakeland’s state aid was reduced by $3.49 million in 2013-2014, and $15.03 since 2010-2011. The district used a retirement incentive program to help cut costs in the last two years. But, an expected increase in state aid this year allowed the district to balance its budget without that program, Stone said.

Bedford lost $1.1 million of its expected state funding in 2013-2014 and $4.44 million since 2010-2011. School Superintendent Jere Hochman said the district will have to make major program cuts in coming years if nothing changes with the GEA or the property tax cap.

“All districts have really struggled over the last few years, especially with the cap on the levy. That combined with the reduced state aid has made it extremely difficult,” Stone said.

See how much every other district in Westchester lost last year; and the last four years total.

  • Ardsley: $849,951; $3,344,253
  • Blind Brook (Rye): $283,486; $1,328,042
  • Briarcliff Manor: $552,155; $2,313,344
  • Bronxville: $239,773; $1,168,177
  • Byram Hills: $535,586; $2,260,785
  • Chappaqua: $1,166,974; 4,997,008
  • Croton-Harmon: $712,726; $2,925,542
  • Dobbs Ferry: $559,957; $2,371,313
  • Eastchester: $752,176; $3,069,280
  • Edgemont: $470,898; $2,026,156
  • Elmsford: $265,352; $1,214,696
  • Greenburgh: $696,970; $2,935,391
  • Harrison: $773,465; $3,142,073
  • Hastings-on-Hudson: $788,973; $3,112,502
  • Hendrick Hudson: $1,066,943; $4,159,978
  • Irvington: $403,890; $1,812,519
  • Katonah-Lewisboro: $1,240,608; $4,880,800
  • Mamaroneck: 980,652; $3,977,733
  • Mount Pleasant: $952,801; $3,539,033
  • Mount Vernon: $10,243,952; $42,321,689
  • New Rochelle: $5,125,880; $21,897,155
  • North Salem: $371,463; $1,655,566
  • Ossining: $1,977,756; $8,712,381
  • Peekskill: $3,386,980; $14,450,184
  • Pelham: $860,980; $3,486,286
  • Pleasantville: $642,792; $2,780,545
  • Pocantico Hills: $106,966; $625,230
  • Port Chester: $1,587,052; $8,616,702
  • Rye: $437,404; $1,903,383
  • Rye Neck: $219,665; $1,097,837
  • Scarsdale: $793,279; $3,212,012
  • Somers: $1,294,855; $4,866,933
  • Tarrytown: $1,000,878; $4,757,011
  • Tuckahoe: $285,242; $1,323,540
  • Valhalla: $706,154; $2,735,613
  • White Plains: $2,252,724; $9,828,993
  • Yonkers: $20,718,680; $90,447,595
  • Yorktown: $2,000,075; $8,083,067