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From Capital New York: Report: GEA restoration benefits downstate schools most

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By KESHIA CLUKEY 12:52 p.m. | Mar. 25, 2016 follow this reporter

ALBANY —Districts held by Senate Republicans, among the loudest voices in favor of cutting the Gap Elimination Adjustment, have the most to benefit from restoring cuts in school aid being included in the 2016-17 state budget, according to data released Friday.

As budget discussions continue, the education conversation includes whether to put more money towards school aid, as favored by the Democratic-lead Assembly, or as Senate Republicans prefer, fully cutting the Gap Elimination Adjustment, a formula established during the 2008 recession that distributed cuts to school districts as the state grappled with deficits. The state has been decreasing the amount of cuts over the last few years, but $434 million remains.

Funding the state’s more equitable Foundation Aid Formula benefits low-wealth districts, while eliminating the GEA is more beneficial for average- to high-wealth districts.

A report released by EffectiveNY, a nonprofit public policy think tank and government watchdog group, finds that those districts most benefited by the GEA elimination are in Senate districts held by Republicans — the top five are on Long Island. EffectiveNY was founded by Bill Samuels, a former fund-raiser for Senate Democrats.

District’s in the area represented by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan top the list, with more than $30 million in GEA owed, according to the report. Flanagan, since day one of this session, has said the Republican-lead Senate would not agree to a budget unless it fully eliminates the GEA. His Long Island district would receive more GEA funding than the five lowest-ranking Senate districts combined — all of which are upstate, according to the report.

Read the full EffectiveNY report here: http://politi.co/1RqbyEX.

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