Niagara Gazette

Lewiston

April 9, 2013

Latest Lew-Port budget measures eliminate more postions, international exchange program

Niagara Gazette — LEWISTON — Line by line, they examined it. Lewiston-Porter's 2013-14 preliminary spending plan came under the magnifying glass Tuesday as administrators and school board members worked through possible balancing acts trying to mitigate potential devastation.

Those at the table plowed through overtime lines, afterschool club expenses and looked at converting newsletters and report cards from paper delivery to online format only. Roser was also directed to take a look at reducing substitute teacher requirements.

Things aren't looking upbeat in the rural district, despite a major infusion of expected revenues in the now-adopted 2013-14 state budget. Superintendent Christopher Roser said almost $913,000 in additional money was given to the district after the state legislature made its changes.

But it still doesn't add up to what he was proposing the district spend next school year. He still needed to wipe away 1.5 more positions, bringing the district's total loss proposed for next year to 41.

"There's no place left to go except back to the staff," he told the board. "So we are proposing cutting one science teacher (at the high school) and a half of a French teacher position."

Roser's latest proposal also eliminates all field trip transportation, eliminating the international exchange program the high school participates in and reduces on-site security at the high school.

Tuesday's revelation came as Roser told the board he would not present a budget seeking to override the tax levy threshold, which is set at 4 percent next year. He said he considered seeking a 5 percent or 5.5 percent increase in order to save some of the teaching positions which have been guided toward the cutting room floor.

But in the end, he opted to try and fix the budget crisis without the extra revenue.

The district's finances are in dire straits in large part because of New York state instituting its Gap Elimination Adjustment, which forces every school district to pay back to the state a proportion of its annual state aid, called foundation aid. It was initially envisioned by then-Gov. David Paterson after the housing market bubble implosion prior to the 2008 election.

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