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The Sun letter to the editor: For the sake of the kids, is time for the Gap Elimination Adjustment to go

Editor:

I have never questioned our decision to move to Hamburg, and each day I often find myself reminded why it is that my husband and I made the decision to become a part of this community, almost 10 years ago.

This community has shown itself to be a vital part in our children’s education by coming together, when the situation arises. Whether it’s the Thanksgiving food drive at the high school or the manner that our middle school students welcome new citizens each year by hosting a naturalization ceremony, or even the amazingly selfless classmates of my younger children at Charlotte Avenue who have chosen to go bald for bucks, to raise money for cancer research, all of our children are learning respect and the importance of giving and treating one another as more important than themselves.

We are blessed to have a fantastic universal prekindergarten program that all three of my own children have been able to attend, through the Hamburg District, and although my own kids are not yet in the high school, the opportunities of award-winning teachers and programs, and championship athletics, await them in their future here.

At least, I hope it awaits them. The Gap Elimination Adjustment (or GEA) is threatening the very programs, athletics and incredible teachers my children and yours will one day encounter. The loss of over $14 million in state aid to our school district has forced the hand of our district leaders to make cuts where needed, while still attempting to preserve the level of excellence we demand and expect for our students here in Hamburg.

Another loss of $2.5 million is set to challenge the 2014 –2015 school year budget, if Gov. Cuomo’s executive budget plan goes through as originally proposed, all while New York state sits on a $2 billion surplus.

State Education Commissioner John King wants our children to be “college and career-ready,” yet school districts across the state are being forced to make drastic cuts from our schools that will leave our children less than prepared for college, or certainly not career-ready.

We simply cannot afford to waste our children’s future by allowing this to continue, and our community needs to once again come together to insist to our New York state officials that enough is enough. Gov. Cuomo, Sen. Grisanti, Assemblyman Ryan and others need to hear from all of us, through mail, phone calls and social media, that it’s time for the GEA to go.

Candy Ditkowski
Hamburg
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