SERINO HITS GROUND RUNNING, CONTINUES FIGHT FOR QUALITY EDUCATION
ALBANY, NY—With the 2016 Legislative Session underway, Senator Sue Serino (R, C, I—Hyde Park) hit the ground running with her announcement that a bill she co-sponsors to fully eliminate the disastrous Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) passed in the Senate.
“While GEA might not be a buzzword, the bottom line is this: it’s bad for our schools, it’s bad for our taxpayers and most importantly, it puts our local students at a real disadvantage,” said Senator Serino.
The GEA was imposed as a means to close a $10 billion state budget gap in 2009, under former Governor David Paterson, when the Senate was under NYC leadership. Since that time, the GEA has taken billions of dollars from local school districts—over $166 million from schools in Senator Serino’s Senate District. The bill, S. 6377, would fully eliminate the GEA by the 2016-17 school year.
Speaking in support of the bill on the Senate floor, Senator Serino said, “While I believe wholeheartedly that our state as a whole needs to tighten our belt and cap state spending, taking dollars away from our schools and our children to fill budget gaps is absolutely irresponsible.”
Last year, Senator Serino joined her Republican colleagues in calling for the full elimination of the GEA. On a legislative questionnaire issued by Senator Serino to her constituents at the beginning of 2015, over 50% of respondents agreed that the repeal of the GEA should be a priority in the State Budget. As a result of her advocacy, and taking into account the voices of those in her district, nearly 60% of the GEA was eliminated in the State Budget.
Serino continued, “Today, in passing this bill, once again we are going beyond rhetoric to make the promise of eliminating the GEA a reality. As the budget process gets under way, I thank my colleagues for continuing to make this issue a priority and I urge my colleagues in the Assembly to do the same.”