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Lew-Port: Additional details on budget vote, BOE election

Thu, May 14th 2020 09:00 pm

‘In the Loop’ with the Lewiston-Porter Board of Education

By Jodee Riordan

Board of Education President

Last week, we were finally able to announce the date and details of the Board of Education election and budget vote. We now have more detail:

The budget vote and election is Tuesday, June 9:

√ Budget for 2020-21 will be presented to the community for approval.

√ Capital project will be presented to the community for approval.

√ Three seats are open for the Board of Education. Voters will elect three of four candidates.

Voting will be conducted entirely by mail-in ballot. All eligible and registered voters in the district will receive an absentee ballot by mail, and a postage paid mailer to return the ballot. Ballots will be mailed out no later than Friday, May 22, and voters should have a ballot no later than Tuesday, May 26. Voters will be required to return all ballots to the district office by 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 9.

It is imperative that voters mail ballots back to the district clerk with plenty of time to get here by 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 9. A postmark prior to Tuesday, June 9, will not suffice: The ballot must be physically here at the L-P District office by 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 9.

What you need to know about the Board of Education election:

Three seats are open on the Board of Education: Two seats are for a three-year term; one seat is a one-year term (to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Natalie Beilein)

There are four candidates, with ballot position determined in alphabetical order:

  • Anika Fetzner
  • Charlotte Huebschmann
  • Jennifer Klemick
  • Danielle Mullen

Each voter will vote for three candidates. The top two vote-getters win a three-year term, while the third-place vote-getter wins a one-year term.

Our newsletter, The Link, contains biographies submitted by each candidate. A link to The Link is on the district homepage.

The Board of Education plans to adopt a budget on Tuesday, May 19, at our regular board meeting. We still do not have solid state aid numbers, but must adopt a budget to meet state deadlines.

We have crafted a balanced budget based on the numbers available, taking the hit of the “pandemic adjustment” (a loss of $300,000) and anticipating further cuts in state aid. To date, state aid to Lewiston-Porter for next year has been reduced by $429,264. The first of three New York state reassessment periods ended April 30, but there is still no decision from the governor as to the depth of cuts to education funding. We are still waiting for the numbers, along with a decision on support for the states by the federal government. The funding of education statewide is dependent on many factors, all out of our control.

Following adoption of the 2020-21 budget, we will focus the next “Loop” on the details of the budget and the proposed capital project referendum.

The board continues to meet remotely, following the amended guidelines of open meetings law. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 19. Join the Board of Education meeting via Zoom: Meeting ID: 748 8956 2065; Password: Lewport

Per Gov. Cuomo, all schools will now remain closed for the remainder of the school year. In keeping with our “just the facts” look at the closure, an update on the essential services outlined by the governor per executive order 202.4, “the provision of school meals, childcare and distance learning are considered essential services or function”:

•Education: From Superintendent Paul Casseri: I hope you are well and staying safe and healthy. We are now a week into our ‘Continuity of Learning Plan’ to close out the 2019-20 school year. Hopefully the day-to-day learning and assignments that are going on remotely are working out well for students and families. We will have a survey out next week to gauge the process as we meet the halfway point of new learning moving toward the end of the school year. If any child or family is having trouble with the work, it is essential that they reach out to a building administrator or individual teacher. We are here to help and to make this process as user-friendly as we can. Teachers are prepared to work one to one with students support individual learning issues and difficulties. Please reach out; we are here to help!

“We have begun planning to close out the school year. Barring an edict from the governor or NYSED to the contrary, the last official day of instruction is up to districts based on their calendar and contracts. Based on that, I have determined that the last day for secondary instruction, grades 6-12, will be Tuesday, June 9, and elementary instruction, grades K-5, will be Wednesday, June 10.

We are scheduling two days for K-12 student/family to pick up personal items from classroom and lockers: Wednesday, June 10 (last name, A-L) and Thursday, June 11 (last name M-Z), from 12:30-6 p.m. in all buildings. Please note: Details for this work and the logistic for these pick-up days are still in development. Building administration, working with teacher leaders, will be developing specific building-level plans based on these dates. These plans will be finalized by next Tuesday and communicated with families beginning Wednesday, May 20. Please be patient as we finalize the specifics of the plan in each building.

•Academy of International Business and Finance: The high school is extending the normal deadline for freshmen (Class of 2023) to apply for the Academy of International Business and Finance. To simplify the application process, students can apply online by completing the Academy of International Business and Finance application. The Academy is a unique, three-year “school within a school” program focused on the areas of international business and finance. Students gain real-world experience, participate in a paid internship between junior/senior year, and earn up to 12 college credits. If you would like more information, check out the AIBF webpage. If you have additional questions about the Academy or the application process, please contact Director Joann Allender at [email protected] or 716-525-3358.

•Food Service: We are providing meals to meet the needs of our families seven days a week: Meals are available from 9-11 a.m. Monday-Wednesday-Friday, for all students under the age of 18. Students will receive meals for two days (two breakfasts and two lunches) when picked up on Monday and/or Wednesday, and for three days on Friday (three breakfasts and three lunches). Meals are available at the Lewiston-Porter High School main entrance. Families not able to pick up should email Dr. Patti Grupka ([email protected]) to make arrangements to have meals delivered.

Lewiston-Porter is partnering with the WNY Food Bank to provide food for any family in need. Each Wednesday, families with children are able to pick a backpack of supplementary, nonperishable food items when they pick up their lunches and breakfasts. Each backpack includes a protein and vegetable along with other food staples. It is not necessary to register in advance, just ask when you pick-up and you will receive a backpack. Those who have home delivery will have the bag delivered to their home on request.

•Child Care: Lewiston-Porter Central School District provides free child care for all essential workers while schools are closed due to COVID-19. Please see our website (or executive order No. 202.4) for a complete list of eligible essential workers. Child care is provided from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays for children of eligible workers age 3-12 at the Lewiston-Porter Primary Education Center in partnership with the Buffalo Niagara YMCA. To register for the service, please contact the Lockport Family Branch YMCA at 716-434-8887 or email Brigid Dillman, office manager, at [email protected] between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

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