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State budget has some good news for education

An on-time state budget is good news for school districts across the state, as they plug in the hard numbers to proposed budgets.  The budget approved by lawmakers last week includes an extra billion dollars this year for education. It's also leading to the phase out of one of the nagging funding formulas schools deal with.

The State School Boards Association is happy with the increases in aid and the fact that there are no new costs shifted to districts.  But the association's Executive Director Tim Kremer says the one thing still in the budget that drives districts crazy and is something called  the gap elimination adjustment.  He explains how it works.  

"The state aid formula drives a certain amount of aid to every school district, then a deduction takes place that takes money away from that state aid formula to pay the state's debt," Kremer said. "The sooner we get that paid off the better we will be because people view this whole things as unpredictable and unfair."

Kremer says this years budget pays off $500 million of that debt, and if the economy continues improving, the gap elimination adjustment ought to be out of the picture in two to three years.

In Central New York, state aid increased an average of 6.4 percent in Oswego County, 4.1 Percent in Onondaga county, 5.6 percent in Jefferson County and six percent in Lewis County.