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Port Jefferson School District Sees Small Change in State Aid

With the new budget approved for New York State, Port Jefferson School District will see very little in the way of change from the aid it receives.

will have about the same amount of money to work with in state aid as it did last year, according to the New York State budget that passed this week.

The approved New York State budget released late Wednesday shows that the Port Jefferson school district will get $3,048,654 this year in aid, $170,867 less than last year when it received $3,219,521 from the state.

That final amount is actually a little better than expected.

"This is a slight increase over the Governor’s proposal we got back in January," said Mark Flowers, the district’s assistant superintendent for business.

Governor Cuomo presented an executive budget summary that included $3,009,777 in aid for Port Jefferson schools but the final budget restored $38,877 back to the district.

State Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle R- Port Jefferson expressed his happiness at seeing some state aid restored for schools in a statement released after the budget passed.

"I fully expect that the dollars restored to the education budget will be put into the classroom and not taken from programs for our children," LaValle said.

While the final budget does help many school districts in the region by restoring funds thought lost, little has changed for Port Jefferson.

Over in , the school is set to receive almost the same amount of education funding it received last year, recovering close to half a million in state aid from the proposed budget. In the school will receive $1.6 million less in state aid than last year but that is better than the original proposal to cut $2.9 million from the district.

The roughly $39,000 that Port Jefferson got back in the budget doesn’t amount to much in the scheme of things, especially in light of the massive loss of revenue the village faces if LIPA is successful in its tax grievance.

Around Port Jefferson, talk has turned to what cuts, if any, should be made to the school district, with seemingly everything on the table from AP Classes and sports to proposed teacher layoffs.

Signs posted near the school show the dissatisfaction of some parents. They ask about potential cuts. One reads, "No AP classes?" while another asks, "No Sports?" A third sign says, "LIPA is still here. So are our children."

A parent of a student in the school district said in an email that teachers have already received pink slips pending the passage of the school budget.

"Barring the budget passing they are not expected to have jobs next year," said the parent who wished to remain anonymous.

Superintendent Max Riley warned that layoffs are on the horizon but he could not speculate on the final number.

"There will almost certainly be layoffs of teachers and other staff," he said. "However, we won't know the number until the board comes to an agreement on the budget."

According to Flowers, the Board of Education will hold a special public meeting on April 5 to continue discussions on what the proposed school budget target should be.

The budget is scheduled to be adopted by the board at the regular Board of Education meeting on April 12, according to Dr. Riley.

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