State's 'Gap Elimination Formual' hurts rural schools
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 9:31 am

Over and over we hear people blaming teachers and the “unions” for causing the crisis in North Country schools. People need to wake up and listen to what the districts, politicians and school equity groups are telling you. It is easier to blame the problems on the teachers and unions than to educate oneself and be involved. The Gap Elimination Formula was created to funnel money to suburban school districts. North Country school districts and the city districts paid the cost for this political pandering. Teachers in the North Country do not even make as high salaries as teachers in suburban districts and even if all teachers in all districts started paying toward their health insurance, that money is a drop in the bucket to what has been lost in funding due to this formula. School districts in the North Country are not asking for abundant services. I think North Country students deserve to have at least two choices for foreign language (a state requirement) and to play sports just as their suburban counterparts do. No, we do not have the tax base to offer eight or nine languages like some Westchester county schools do or have every sport at the modified and JV level, but our children do deserve to have some “minimums” maybe with a couple of extra’s thrown in like a drama department or an art elective too. Schools in the North Country are not in trouble because they wasted money. They are not under-performing. Their teachers and faculty do not make any more money than other teachers across the state. The Gap Elimination Formula is responsible for that. Instead of being a complainer, be a part of the solution. Get involved in the fight to change the Gap Elimination Formula.