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Lewiston-Porter proposes $49.092 million budget for 2020-21

Fri, May 29th 2020 09:20 am

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

By Jodee Riordan

Board of Education President

With the budget vote and Board of Education election approaching on Tuesday, June 9, Lewiston-Porter has been working to give you as much detail as possible prior to mailing in your ballot.

First, I want to thank you all for staying with us here “In the Loop,” as the Lewiston-Porter administrators and Board of Education have navigated so many changes and waited for announcement of election dates, voting methods and state aid numbers.

Where we would have had months to look at the completed budget, normally adopted in early April, Lewiston-Porter was only able to adopt the budget last week, and New York state aid is still up in the air.

A virtual public budget hearing on the proposed $49,092,660 Lewiston-Porter budget for the 2020-21 school year (an increase of $605,129, or 1.248%, over the $48.487 million adopted L-P budget for 2019-20), will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, via Zoom. (A link can be found on the Lewiston-Porter website homepage, www.lew-port.com).

By law, the budget will be presented in three parts: (1) program component, (2) capital component, and (3) administrative component.

Dr. Patricia Grupka, Lewiston-Porter assistant superintendent for administrative services, will discuss budget development online and present full details of the proposed Lewiston-Porter CSD Board of Education School budget for fiscal year 2020-21.

Posted to the Lew-Port website is the full, 86-page document, which provides all required budget information, including revenues, expenditures and fund balance information, as well as comparison data from the prior year’s budget.

Also included are the annual report cards prepared by the NYS Education Department, which measures the academic performance of the district on a school-by-school basis. The report cards compare academic performance to statewide averages for all schools of comparable wealth and need. “

The Link,” the Lewiston-Porter district newsletter, will arrive next week (mailed, by law, once the hearing is conducted). It provides detailed budget information.

Grupka will also review a $48,382,703 contingency budget (a decrease of $104,378, or .002%, from the adopted 2019-20 L-P plan), as strictly outlined in education law. It is critical to understand the impacts of contingency this year as executive order No. 202.26, which established the date and method of voting, did not provide a date for a second vote in the event the budget fails, as has been established practice.

If the budget fails, Lewiston-Porter will be required to go straight to a contingency when it begins the 2020-21 fiscal year on July 1.

A contingency budget would require Lewiston-Porter to cut another $709,957 from the budget. Grupka will get into all the mandated requirements of a contingent budget, but has previously outlined that cuts would have to include all furniture, fixtures and equipment, and all clubs and extracurricular activities, at least 50% of L-P athletic programs, all intramurals, community education, all enrichment programs, and personnel cuts to include one administrative position.

Grupka will then present an in-depth look at the proposed capital project, which, following voter approval, would take place in multiple phases, 2020-24. The scope of work will focus on the health and safety of Lewiston-Porter students, faculty, staff and community. It also invests in the reconstruction, rehabilitation and renovation, including upgrades to the HVAC systems at the Intermediate Education Center, middle school and high school, including addition of air conditioning in areas currently not serviced, and replacement of the middle school boiler; replacement of synthetic turf at Blakeslee Field and field lighting at Elia Field; and renovation of the IEC library.

Understand that Lewiston-Porter has done its due diligence in an especially difficult budget year. We want you to know that your tax dollars are being spent as prudently as possible and are supporting an excellent education for over 2,000 students. We encourage you to really look at our budget and know that you are receiving the best return for your investment. If you ever have a question about the budget, please reach out to us.

The Board of Education will meet (via Zoom) immediately following the budget hearing. The agenda includes policy committee review, discussion of end-of-the-year student activities and budget vote/election, and a presentation on high school English curriculum.

Also on Tuesday, Board of Education candidates will be given an opportunity to present to the public. This year, there are four candidates running for the three seats. Danielle Mullin, Anika Fetzner, Jennifer Klemick and Charlotte Huebsmann will each be given three minutes to introduce themselves. It is an excellent way to learn about the candidates and their platform.

Please plan to tune in!

A bio for each candidate is posted on the L-P website (Budget and Election 2020-21 link on the homepage), and will also be published in the upcoming newsletter, “The Link.”

Thank you for doing your civic duty to educate yourself on the candidates, the budget and the issues before you cast your (mail-in) ballot. Thank you for staying “In the Loop” all year round, and for your support of and belief in education at Lewiston-Porter.

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