Niagara Gazette

Local News

March 26, 2013

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

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — It's going to come from either increasing revenues, further cuts or a combination of the two. But that increased revenue would come from overturning the tax cap while cutting staff would "have a significant impact on programs and will see class sizes increase."

"I don't want to cut any further," Roser said. "These are hard times. I wouldn't recommend going any farther. If we do, whatever we take out is never going to come back. So at the point where we're at right now, there'll be modest program losses. But the next ones will be a significant part of what makes Lewiston-Porter what it is. It's the reason we're ranked No. 6.

"If we rip these things away, we'll go backwards."

This would, essentially, leave increasing taxes beyond what New York State's property tax cap would allow. To do so, the district would need to receive 60 percent approval from voters come the May 21 school budget vote. Last year, Niagara-Wheatfield attempted to override the cap and failed, requiring a second budget vote in June to avoid a contingency plan.

Niagara-Wheatfield tried to pass a 9.9 percent tax levy increase. Roser estimated about 8 percent would be needed in Lew-Port to match spending projections with all of his proposed cuts included.

With a state budget still not approved as of press time Tuesday night, talk of overriding the cap is premature, said board member Jerome Andres.

"It's pessimistic right now," he said of the budget process. "We still don't know what's going on, so it's too early to be talking about going over the tax cap."

In addition to budget talk, the board also approved a resolution which will ask voters in May to approve a $26 million capital improvement project which features a new pool at the high school and new entryways at each of the district's four schools.

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