By Jodee Riordan
Board of Education President
The Lewiston-Porter Board of Education approved the 2016-17 $43.091 million budget on Tuesday, before a short (but lively!) work session focused on policy review.
I gave an overview of the Lew-Port budget last week, illustrating how it fulfills our budget development goals. It aligns with our mission statement and supports the 2016-20 strategic plan, is focused on conservative long-term fiscal planning, is sustainable over time, and is fair to our taxpayers.
Let's focus this week on how it supports our 2016-20 strategic plan:
•First, our mission statement: "The Lewiston-Porter Central School District empowers and inspires students to achieve academic and personal excellence through rigorous curriculum, collaborative partnerships, and resourceful decision-making. We promote a diverse learning environment through innovative practice, a focus on the individual student, and respect for all."
•Now, let's look at the 2016-20 strategic plan. What is it? The strategic plan, or comprehensive district education plan, was created over six months with input from all our stakeholder groups (parents, students, teachers, staff, administration, community and board members). The strategic plan guides and shapes Lewiston-Porter's educational and budget priorities through 2020 within three strategic goal areas (or "pillars"): district leadership, teaching and learning, and community and culture.
Needs, goals and action items are identified for each, along with a timeline for implementation, projected costs and measures. ("You can only manage what you measure.") You can read it in its entirety (it is 22 user-friendly pages) by visiting our district homepage, www.lew-port.com (a link to it is front and center).
•How does the 2016-17 budget support it? By:
√ Restoring a full-time librarian/media specialist position, returning library services to all buildings (essential to supporting literacy and enhancing learning opportunities)
√ Restoring staff development (critical in this age of constant educational reform)
√ Restoring department chairs (vital for vertical and grade-level curriculum development)
√ Establishing Lew-Port's professional learning communities (You may ask, "What the heck is that?" A professional learning community is an extended learning opportunity to foster collaborative learning among colleagues within a particular work environment or field. PLCs will advance and accelerate our education goals.)
√ Supporting character education programs (These guide, develop and promote our children to be strong, solid members and leaders of the community through service learning, social-emotional learning and civic education.)
√ Continuing support of one-to-one computing and technology (This gives students cutting-edge technology across the district, K-12 and increasing one-to-one interface.)
√ Providing additional support for athletics-based recommendations of Lew-Port's athletic advisory committee (This support includes additional coaching support - specifically assisting coaches - development and training, as well as the long-overdue purchase of equipment and uniforms. Athletics is a very important component to Lewiston-Porter. We have heard, and are responding to, the requests of our community.)
We have an excellent school district - ranked in the top 10 in Western New York. Lewiston-Porter continues to "Aim Higher," and the strategic plan provides the blueprint for future growth and success. The budget supports this plan, and provides our community with an outstanding return in our investment.
A formal budget hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, immediately preceding the annual "Meet the Candidates Night" at 6:30 p.m. "Meet the Candidates Night" is organized by Partners in Education and the high school social studies department. It features board candidates introducing themselves and fielding questions generated and asked by high school government students.
•While we are on the topic of Board of Education candidates. ... There are three seats expiring on the board this year, including mine. I am happy to share my intention to stay on the Lewiston-Porter Board of Education for a third term, and announce my candidacy. It has been a privilege to serve on the board for the past six years, four as your board president. I hope to continue to work with the excellent team we have, including incumbents Anna Wright and Betty Warrick, also seeking re-election. We have worked very hard to be in the positive place we now are, and I wish to continue to be an integral part of the progress at Lewiston-Porter - and promise to continue keeping you "In the Loop!"
Highlights of happenings and upcoming events
•Monday, April 18 - Deadline to submit Board of Education nominating petition is 5 p.m.
•Tuesday, April 19 - Elementary PTA meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the PEC.
•Friday, April 15 - Half-day for elementary students/parent-teacher conferences in the afternoon; Shakespeare Day at the high school.
•Tuesday, April 26 - Board of Education meeting at 6 p.m. at the Community Resource Center.