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The forum will be streamed LIVE for viewers around the state who want to learn more about the magnitude of the crisis collectively facing all schools unless significant action is taken during the 2013 New York State legislative session.

If you are unable to be there in person, you can watch it live at
Education Speaks.  The event will also be live-tweeted by Education Speaks editorial board members. If you’re on Twitter, follow @edspeaksny and #NYSchoolsInPeril to get the live scoop that night! You can also get updates via the Education Speaks Facebook page.

Guilderland stakeholders to attend January 31 Regional Education Forum 'Your Schools in Fiscal Peril - Running Out of Time & Options'

Jan. 18, 2013—With a fifth straight year of significant state revenue reductions looming for the district’s 2013-14 budget and more difficult educational decisions to be made, a group of more than 30 Guilderland stakeholders are participating in an important event this month to help draw region-wide attention to the fiscal crisis facing all public schools.

Guilderland leaders, educators, students, parents and community members are joining representatives from 47 area school districts on Thursday, January 31, (snow date is February 7) for a forum entitled, “Your Public Schools in Fiscal Peril – Running Out of Time & Options.” The event, to be held at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Columbia High School, East Greenbush, will illustrate the magnitude of the crisis collectively facing all schools unless significant action is taken during the 2013 New York State legislative session. To get involved and join our stakeholder team, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at 456-6200, ext. 3102.

The purpose of joining together with our neighboring areas school on January 31 is to:

Draw regional attention to the looming fiscal crisis facing all public schools and warn of another round of unpopular to untenable school budget cuts forecast for 2013-14.

Help our elected state representatives understand their responsibility to act with urgency to adequately and equitably fund public schools and deliver on the promise of mandate relief.

Inform and energize influential stakeholder teams in the 47 school districts served by Questar III and Capital Region BOCES, and catalyze grassroots advocacy in communities all around the region.

Headlining the forum is Dr. Rick Timbs, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium, who will discuss the importance this legislative session of eliminating the state's Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), providing adequate and equitable aid to education, and providing a meaningful measure of mandate relief to school districts.

Following Timbs’ presentation, leaders from three vastly different geographical school districts – suburban Guilderland (Superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles), Schenectady City (Superintendent Larry Spring), and rural Schodack (Superintendent Bob Horan) will offer their personal perspectives on how failure to act in Albany will continue to harmfully impact their students next school year, and for years to come.

The stark reality
The stark reality is that due to today's current economic circumstances and lack of adequate funding from the state, students who graduated in the Class of 2012 may have received the best education that most school districts will be able to offer for the foreseeable future. With the erosion of state aid across the state, staff has been cut and numerous student programs have been reduced and eliminated. Meaningful mandate relief from Albany, while promised by the governor, has not materialized. As such, the 47 school districts joining force on January 31, representing more than 112,000 students in seven counties, have lost over $110 million in state funding this school year alone due to the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA).

What’s next?
Following the January 31 forum, district stakeholders from across the region will be asked to take the next step and mobilize by the hundreds (perhaps thousands) by advocating for change with the elected leaders serving their communities. To help them in that process, the Niskayuna Central School District will host a second forum on the evening of Monday, February 11, to teach effective advocacy strategies and techniques. Joining us will be Robert N. Lowry, Jr., Deputy Director for Advocacy Research & Communications, for the NYS Council of School Superintendents (NYSCSS). More details will follow but, in the meantime, please save the date.

Guilderland Schools have already begun the process of speaking out for changes in school funding. On Tuesday, Jan. 15, the district hosted a community-wide event, "“Let Us Be Heard: Community Advocacy for a Guilderland Education,” to take a closer look at the issues of declining state aid, increased costs, and an overall loss of local control for public education and how they are impacting the school district. Nearly 50 people attended the event, and many stayed long after the presentation to write letters and email to their elected officials, asking for their support of our public schools. Learn more about the Jan. 15 event

We encourage all of our community members to learn about the issues impacting our schools and to advocate for the kind of education you want your children and grandchildren to have here at GCSD. Learn more about advocacy