Niagara Gazette

Opinion

May 18, 2013

GUEST VIEW: Breaking down the Lew-Port budget vote

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — • The bottom line: This senior can expect the school tax to go up about $7 a month — if the voters approve the budget.

• Can you spare $7 a month for good schools?

• If, God forbid, you do not have these Star exemptions, check with your town’s assessor.

• If your household income is less than $29,000, you may qualify for even more savings.

The school board believes that the majority of those living within the Lewiston-Porter School District are proud of their school system and want to see it continue.

Next on the ballot is the capital improvement bond issue.

Every five years, the state requires that school districts complete a professional Building Condition Survey.

I sit on the school board’s Facilities Committee. Since 2010, we have been reviewing this survey.

We have met with our financial consultants to determine how much funding can be borrowed, in a way that will not impact the school taxpayer. That determination set the limit on what we will spend on repairs now. Capital funds are separate from school operating funds. The two budgets do not mix.

The state sets priorities:

• PRIORITY ONE: Mandated items such as health and safety and handicapped accessibility. It also includes items that have a useful life of less than three years. Most of these are not very “exciting”, i.e. emergency lighting, a sewage lift station and leaking roofs.

• PRIORITY TWO: Includes items that will create energy savings; repairs to major systems like roofs, external brick work; mechanical, electrical and technology systems. The swimming pool at the high school, which was built in 1967 and is on the second floor, has been leaking and patched for years. Those leaks also created major problems on the floor below. We have State Education approval to move the pool to a ground floor location. Much of the brick work at the high school needs repair; the list is long.

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