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Voting on school budgets: Is it worth it?

   With all school district budgets in Erie and Niagara counties gaining approval from voters, some might wonder: why vote at all?

   School district spending is the only municipal budget that residents get a say over, so why are they saying yes? Are they happy with the results, or could it be that the taxpayer revolt has turned to taxpayer apathy?

   Or is it because while they can vote on the school budget, they don't have that much say over spending? If it is defeated and a contingent budget is put in place, most of the programs would continue.

   Contingent rules do not hamper most day-to-day operations. The district would not be able to spend money on new equipment, optional maintenance and most community use of the schools.

  Sometimes, with the spending cap, a district could spend more money under a contingent budget than the budget that voters defeated.

   So what's a taxpayer to do?

  --- Barbara O'Brien

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