Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 26, 2013

Lew-Port district support staff and monitors targeted for cuts in budget proposal

Niagara Gazette — Lewiston-Porter administration is desperate.

Superintendent Christopher Roser, already anticipating a 2013-14 spending plan including a 4 percent tax levy increase – the maximum the district can ask under the state's property tax cap – announced the next stage of cuts he anticipates needing to make to find balance to the budget.

And the news isn't good for those employed as support staff and monitors this week.

"We looked at our teacher aides and looked at the ones who aren't tied into special education," Roser said. "We cut half of those aides who aren't involved in special needs."

The cuts, in addition to eliminating 10 teaching positions announced at last week's school board meeting, would bring the district's aide employment from its current 56 to 37 and would save the district $469,000 in salaries and benefits.

In addition, Roser is considering $69,000 in cuts to the monitor staff inside the school, reducing the hours of the in-school support. Responsible for guarding entryways, as well as the hallways and lunchrooms throughout the course of the day, the monitors would see only five of its 14 remain full-time with the rest reduced to lunchroom-only duty at 2.5 hours per day, Roser said.

"This has pretty much hurt everyone," Roser told the board Tuesday.

Also sitting on the district's cutting room floor appears to be the universal pre-kindergarten program, which Lew-Port had just made into a full-day program.

But doing so required a self-funded subsidy out of its own budget. The same budget Roser estimates a $1 million shortfall for next year that still needs to be balanced

Roser's current suggested plan, not finalized, would call for $39.6 million in spending. He's only projecting $38.6 million in income next year, though. The balance could come from any combination of two places, neither of which would be popular.

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