Niagara Gazette

Lewiston

March 18, 2013

Layoffs on the table in Lew-Port

Niagara Gazette — There’s a definite change in demeanor among the leadership of the Lewiston-Porter School District from a year ago.

Both Superintendent Christopher Roser and Lewiston-Porter United Teachers President Kevin Jaruszewski have been stressing over what could be a game-changing budget proposal for the upcoming 2013-14 school year.

Roser has been worried about having enough revenues to balance a spending plan which, if carried over directly from this year would be $43 million. Revenues, though, appear to be decreasing from the current year, thanks to a loss in state aid.

The combination is likely to cost the jobs of several staff members. What isn’t known is exactly how many, Jaruszewski said.

“I’ve had some conversations with (Roser),” Jaruszewski said. “We don’t have any actual numbers yet. But this is potentially devastating to Lewiston-Porter. We’re not talking just teachers here. This is programs, sports, this is every part of (the district). We’ve seen it before in other districts and now it looks like it’s our turn.

“I thought we would get some help from (Gov. Andrew) Cuomo, but once again, ‘Super Mario’ is destroying education. Just like with the (Annual Professional Performance Reviews) and other things he’s done. It’s that time of year again where people don’t sleep at night.”

It’s still early in the process, but the public will have its first opportunity to address the spending possibilities when the school board meets at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the district’s Community Resource Center board room, 4061 Creek Road, Porter.

Chief among district concerns may be balancing revenues and expenses heading into the next few weeks. The school board will have to ultimately make the decision, but Roser last week mentioned possibly exceeding the state’s tax levy cap, set at 4 percent, as a way of closing what, at its worst, would be a $3.3 million budget gap. The idea was brought up in addition to the cuts he’s already proposing to the staff.

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