School districts across New York are clamoring for a full restoration of state aid cuts known as the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA. But a look at spending in the state’s second-largest city illustrates how this battle is not necessarily all about the kids.
For the Buffalo City School District, the GEA cut translated into $4.3 million in the current school year. Meanwhile, the district in recent years has been spending an average of more than $5 million annually on cosmetic surgery for its teachers, according to the Education Action Group, a Michigan-based school reform group.
So, restoring the $1 billion in remaining GEA reductions statewide would, among other things, provide a bigger state tax subsidy for botox treatments, tummy tucks and plastic surgery for Buffalo teachers. In the alternative, Gov. Cuomo and state lawmakers could insist on combining new aid with reform of the state mandates locking in such perks — and, while they’re at it, allow districts to pay their best (if not best-looking) teachers more.