News10 in the Classroom: Gap Elimination Adjustment explained - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

News10 in the Classroom: Gap Elimination Adjustment explained

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It's a phrase which we often hear when it comes to school districts and budgets; the "GEA", or gap elimination adjustment.

But what does it really mean?

Watervliet superintendent Dr. Lori Caplan says her district's situation is unique. It is land poor and with not a lot of property, it does not have a large tax base to even consider raising taxes on.

Dr. Caplan says at this point, the lack of funding has left the district at the bare bones level.

"We don't have a large tax base to begin with, so it's kind of like the perfect storm," she says.

Like so many districts in the Capital Region, Dr. Caplan has struggled with balancing the budget, taking into account the property tax cap.

"I'm not going to break the backs of my taxpayers just to make up for that gap," says Dr. Caplan.

The gap Dr. Caplan is talking about the gap elimination adjustment.    

It went into effect in 2010 to help ease the state's budget deficit by taking some money from education.The GEA has continued in every state budget since.

Dr. Caplan says she has been forced to reduce the district to bare bones, including job cuts, program cuts, and cuts to all sports and after-school programs at the elementary and junior high level.

"With the loss of programs and with the loss of extracurricular activities, then comes student drop out," she says.

The Watervliet Arsenal is putting on a golf tournament in September to help support the district's after school programs for the students.

For information on what the GEA is, click here.

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