Niagara Gazette

Lewiston

January 29, 2013

Lew-Port takes a hit in Cuomo's budget

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Things aren't entirely depressing at the district. It will receive, if the governor's proposal is adopted later this year, approximately $81,000 in the reduction of the state's gap elimination adjustment. Instituted by former Gov. David Paterson following the housing market collapse fallout in 2008, the GEA was created to help the state close its budget deficit. Cuomo's proposal signifies the state is in better standing.

But the $81,000 isn't all good news, Roser said. Yes, it's less money taken away from the district than past years, but some of the other higher needs districts in the area will see reductions of more than $200,000 this year, another instance Roser said is simply not fair.

"I think the formulas should be equitable," he said. "It doesn't matter if a district is high-need or low-need, it should be equitable. Let's do this equitable so this makes sense. Right now it doesn't make sense.

"Right now, I'm not going to sit here and say we have to cut this, that or the other thing. We need to see the impact this proposal will have and build our budget accordingly."

The district likely won't be able to find any help from the Lewiston-Porter United Teachers, but not because of an uncooperative relationship. Throughout the last few years, the union and the administration have worked together to secure compromises in order to keep spending in check and the tax levy at a reasonable amount, officials said.

Though Roser maintains the district is committed to not laying off any more teachers or affecting programs within its four buildings, LPUT President Kevin Jaruszewski expressed dismay at the governor's proposal because he knows there's little left for his members to do to help keep jobs in the district. He said programs are definitely on the chopping block.

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