5 Lockport school staffers to be laid off in proposed budget - The Buffalo News
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5 Lockport school staffers to be laid off in proposed budget

LOCKPORT – Five Lockport City School District employees will be informed today that they will be laid off under the budget to be submitted to voters May 20. In addition, six positions being vacated by retirements will not be filled.

The $86.3 million budget unanimously approved Wednesday by the School Board would raise the property tax levy by 2.26 percent, which is the district’s state-imposed tax cap for the coming school year.

Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley declined to identify the people who will be laid off until they are notified.

R. Joseph O’Shaughnessy, a trustee, said there were more layoffs than five in earlier versions of the budget. “We lost a few, but we didn’t lose the whole pot,” he said.

Bradley said the final budget saved 12 positions: four elementary school teachers, one teaching assistant and seven teacher aides.

Six retirees won’t be replaced: two secondary teachers, a library media specialist and three teacher aides.

Also, two other teaching jobs will be reduced from full-time to part-time.

Board Vice President David M. Nemi said, “This is my ninth budget, and it’s becoming more and more difficult every year.”

Nemi said with unfunded state mandates and the tax cap, “It’s going to get worse because the tax cap is tied to a rebate people are coming to receive.”

Because the district met the cap and complied with some other requirements, all tax increases for STAR-eligible property would be reimbursed by the state with checks mailed to the homeowner this fall, shortly before the November election.

That provision was included in the state budget agreed upon last week by state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The budget raises the full-value tax rate by 57 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

A homeowner with basic STAR benefits whose home is assessed at $75,000 would see an increase of $25.82 in his tax bill. A $75,000 homeowner with enhanced STAR would see a $6.71 increase.

Besides the budget, voters will fill three seats on the board May 20, and vote on the $65,000 sale of the closed Washington Hunt Elementary School to the Ultimate Physique health club.

Another proposition will involve the establishment of a capital improvements reserve fund.

A nonbinding advisory proposition also will be on the ballot, asking voters if they want the district to offer tax breaks for military veterans next year. The board will make the final decision.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com

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