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Lewiston-Porter, Niagara Wheatfield districts plan for May 21 budget votes

Fri, May 10th 2024 09:00 am

New state budget brings a mix bag for districts

By Terry Duffy


The Lewiston-Porter and Niagara Wheatfield school districts outlined their respective 2024-25 budget proposals in board presentations last month. The plans were prepared as New York state finalized its official 2025 budget that was adopted April 22.

According to the governor’s press office, the plan calls for “nearly $36 billion in total school aid for the 2024-25 school year – the highest level of school funding in state history.” The budget also includes $24.9 billion in Foundation Aid assistance, as well as new state aid to address low reading proficiency rates.

Both the Lewiston-Porter and Niagara Wheatfield central school districts continue to adjust their respective budgets that will be decided by voters on Tuesday, May 21.

The Lewiston-Porter CSD proposed plan for ’24-25 totals $54,651,119 according the district’s latest numbers released April 15. It reflects a 0.11% spending increase over the 2023-24 district budget, or $57,807 additional. Among its changes, the budget forecasts $18,483,649 in state aid for Lewiston-Porter in ’24-25 – a 6% decrease, or $1,180,198, from last year.

To compensate, various operational adjustments/cuts have been outlined by Lewiston-Porter administrators, as well as an increase in real property taxes for district property owners. Announced by Lew-Port for ’24-25 is $30,236,874 in real property taxes – a 2.12% increase, or $628,558 over last year.

The Lewiston-Porter Board of Education will hold a detailed presentation on its ’24-25 plan and discuss any changes in a special budget session/meet the candidates night at 6 p.m. Monday, May 13, in the Lew-Port Community Resource Center. BOE candidates for office in the May 21 election are Steven J. Tarnowski, Sara Ohanessian and Connelly.

For more information, visit www.lew-port.com; link to “2024-2025 Annual Budget Vote.”

In the Niagara Wheatfield CSD, the proposed ’24-25 plan presented in April totals $87,072,229. The budget calls for utilizing various reserve accounts to compensate for state aid reductions as well as possible tax increase.

Like Lewiston-Porter, the district is contending with a reduction in state aid. For NWF, that total is projected at $39,3373,403 for ’24-25 – a decline of $319,577, or 0.81% from last year.

Among the budget adjustments, the NFF district is considering using $810,000 from its capital transportation reserve account and $200,000 in capital technology reserve funds. It forecasts $3,910,465 in “balance to fund” appropriations, which reflect various “interfund transfers” and the district’s planned use of reserve accounts. These include its tax certiorari reserve, $121,433; worker’s compensation reserve, $500,000; employee benefits reserve, $300,00; ERS reserve, $400,000; TRS reserve, $400,000; and appropriated fund balance, $2,189,033.

The district budget forecasts a 3.08% calculated tax levy increase for 24-25. Its approved tax levy for voters in ’23-24 was 2.18%.

District residents will vote on the ‘24-25 plan May 21 along with selecting candidates to fill three seats on the Board of Education. For more information on the NWF budget and candidates for election, visit www.nwscsd.org.

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