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(Now that it’s gone) What was the GEA?

Gap Elimination Adjustment – GEA – may be one of the most confusing names ever thought up by an Albany bureaucrat, but it became a battle cry to educators and parents.

When New York State encountered a $10 billion deficit during the recession, it reduced state aid to schools as a way to help cover the deficit. GEA is the amount of money taken away from each district each year to help the state’s budget.

One administrator explained it this way: The state had a budget Gap that needed to be Eliminated by an Adjustment to state aid.

It was first enacted during the 2009-10 school year, but under a different name.

GEA gained the ire of many when the state continued subtracting money from districts, even when it started running budget surpluses.

The state began subtracting less money, and called that amount “GEA Restoration.” That further confused the discussion, particularly when restoring the GEA (i.e., restoring the money subtracted from state aid) meant the same thing as eliminating the GEA (i.e., doing away with the budget gimmick altogether).