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School election results in Niagara County

The following capsules contain budget information and unofficial results when it comes to today's votes on school district budgets and school board races. The names of the winning school board candidates are in bold.

All tax information is estimated based on the best available information. Tax rates in particular are subject to change.

Barker, Lewiston-Porter, Lockport, Newfane, Niagara Falls, Niagara Wheatfield, North Tonawanda, Royalton-Hartland, Starpoint, Wilson

Barker

* Candidates (Elect two to three-year terms): Incumbent Louis Mead (225); write-in candidate John Sweeney (73).
* Total budget: $19.2 million, down 4.11 percent. Passed (Yes, 242; No, 56).
* Proposition 2: Capital improvement project. Passed (Yes, 230; No, 61).
* Proposition 3: Capital improvements reserve plan. Passed (Yes, 224; No, 61).
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $18.10 per $1,000, no change.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,043.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 19.14 percent.
* Percentage of budget from state aid: 33.79 percent.
* Noteworthy: The district reduced its expenditures by nearly $890,000 and wants to tap into $350,000 of its fund balance to be able to maintain current programming and allow for staff reductions almost entirely through attrition. Much of the district's revenue comes from a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, agreement on the AES Somerset power plant. An administrator will be shared with the Wilson Central School District.
The only candidate on the ballot for two, three-year terms on the seven-member board was:
* Incumbent Louis Mead, 36, owner of New England Sea Food, which sells bulk groceries in a store at Ridge and Hartland roads. Mead will serve his third term.

Lewiston-Porter

* Candidates (Elect two to three-year terms): Keith Fox (746) and Michael Gentile (738).
* Total budget: $40.23 million, up 0.35 percent. Passed (Yes, 704; No, 180).
*Proposition 2: To allow a public vote on new contracts worth $100,000 or more over existing contracts. Passed (Yes, 514; No, 336).
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: Town of Lewiston: $22.11 per $1,000, no change; Town of Porter: $19.25 per $1,000, no change.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): Town of Lewiston: $2,211; Town of Porter: $1,925.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 53 percent.
* Percentage of budget from state aid: 33.29 percent.
* Noteworthy: Officials recoded grant allocation funds to pay the salaries of some special-education positions and also tapped the district's federal Education Jobs Act funding to close a $4 million budget gap and retain all teaching positions with no change in the tax levy. The district will share two administrator positions with North Tonawanda City School District: assistant superintendent and director of curriculum and instruction.
* Proposition 2: Would allow the public to vote whenever a contract with the superintendent or a district staff union would involve an increase of $100,000 or more.
The two candidates running for two, three-year terms on the seven-member board were:
* Keith Fox, 78, a retired financial planner for SunAmerica Securities and a former social studies and economics teacher at LaSalle High School in Niagara Falls for 20 years. If elected, this will be his second term. His first term was served from 2007 to 2010. He did not seek re-election last year.
* Michael Gentile, 56, associate professor of sports management at Niagara University. If elected, this will be his second term. His first term was served from 2007 to 2010. He did not seek re-election last year.
Incumbents Robert Weller and Edward Waller did not seek re-election.

Lockport

* Candidates (Elect three to three-year terms; elect one to a one-year term): Anthony P. Molinaro(2,452); Roy Joseph O'Shaughnessy (2,429); David M. Nemi (i) (2,261); Thomas W. Fiegl (i) (2,263); Regina L. Marker (2,035); Paul R. Black (1,976); Louisa Smith (1,921).
* Total budget: $79 million, up 2.6 percent. Passed (Yes, 2,714; No, 1,915).
* Proposition 2: To allow sale of DeWitt Clinton Elementary School to Niagara County Head Start. Passed (Yes, 3,302; No, 1,354.)
* Proposition 3: $19 million capital project to improve buildings. Passed (Yes, 2,744; No, 1,935).
* Proposition 4: $5.9 million capital improvements on athletic facilities. Failed (Yes, 2,313; No, 2,365.)
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $24.94 per $1,000, up 4.9 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,855 with Basic STAR.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 43.1 percent.
* Percentage of budget from state aid: 49.7 percent.
* Noteworthy: City residents are in the process of undergoing a reassessment of property values, whereby taxes are expected to decrease by $1.55 per $1,000 assessed value. If all things were to remain the same as last year, however, homes with the Basic STAR exemption would see an increase of $176.37 per year.
* Proposition 2: Would allow the sale of DeWitt Clinton Elementary School for $4,500 to Niagara County Head Start, the nonprofit organization the district leased the building to for the current year at the same price. The group provides early education and day care services to children of low-income families. All proceeds from the sale would be deducted from the state building aid the district still receives for the building.  Passed.
* Proposition 3: Would allow district officials to use $881,520 from its capital reserve fund to complete an infrastructure improvement project for six buildings totaling nearly $19 million. The state would contribute about $18.1 million in the form of building aid. In the event of changes to the state's building aid formula, the district would expend up to an additional $1.9 million from its capital reserve fund to ensure the project would come at no additional cost to taxpayers. Construction work at the six elementary school buildings would include repairs to roofing and concrete, enhancement of lighting systems, the repaving of sidewalks and parking lots, the addition of three new playgrounds and a new and upgraded district-wide data infrastructure.  Passed.
* Proposition 4: Would allow the use of $211,232 from the capital reserve fund to undertake a capital upgrade of the district's athletic facilities totaling $5.9 million, as long as three conditions are met: voters also must adopt Proposition 3; the State Education Department must approve the capital project; and private outside donations of $750,000 must be raised by June 30, 2012. The state would contribute about $4.9 million in the form of building aid. In the event of changes to the state's building aid formula, the district would expend up to an additional $530,000 to ensure the project would come at no additional cost to taxpayers. The majority of funds would be used to build a multipurpose field complex large enough to house sectional events in sports such as lacrosse and soccer. Improvements also would be made to district tennis courts and football practice fields. Failed.
* Voters were asked to approve a $79 million spending plan, which stands to raise the tax levy by a true rate of more than 4.5 percent, despite $3.9 million in expenditure cuts.The spending plan cuts the equivalent of 36.5 full-time positions. Roughly $1 million in savings was found with a plan to reorganize the district and convert the two middle school buildings into one that houses fifth and sixth grades and another that houses seventh and eighth. If the plan was not approved, the district would have been  forced into a contingency budget for the second year in a row and would have had to find roughly $566,000 in additional cuts, Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone said. The district has lost more than $8 million in state aid over the past two years. Last year, officials closed two elementary schools and cut 38 positions.
There were seven candidates for three, three-year terms on the nine-member board:
* Incumbent Thomas W. Fiegl, 68, a retired police captain of 25 years who worked for the Lockport City Police Department for 35 years. If elected, Fiegl will serve his third term.
* Incumbent David M. Nemi, 53, a college business professor at Niagara County Community College for 25 years. If elected, Nemi will serve his third term.
* Roy Joseph O'Shaughnessy, 61, owner of Oak Run Golf Club. If elected, O'Shaughnessy will serve his first term.
* Anthony P. Molinaro, 38, a building trades instructor for Orleans-Niagara BOCES at Niagara West Center for four years. If elected, Molinaro will serve his first term.
* Regina L. Marker, 35, a stay-at-home mom with 11 years teaching experience in the Lyndonville school district. If elected, Marker will serve her first term.
* Paul R. Black, 59, a technical field support worker at Syracuse Supply for 30 years. If elected, Black will serve his first term.
* Luisa Smith, a stay-at-home mom who served as president of the John E. Pound Elementary School Parent Teacher Association for two years.
The fourth highest vote-getter is elected to finish the unexpired term previously held by Allan Jack, who resigned two years ago. Incumbent Marietta Schrader was appointed to Jack's seat for one year at the time, but she did not seek re-election. Incumbent Margaret Lupo also did not seek re-election.

Newfane

* Candidates (Elect two to three-year terms): Incumbent Patrick Kilcullen (545), James Little (482), Debra Workman (447) and Frederick Pieszala (229).
* Total budget: $31.5 million, down 2.8 percent. Passed (Yes, 598; No, 348).
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $27.22 per $1,000, up 2 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,722.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 39 percent.
* Percentage of budget from state aid: 50 percent.
* Noteworthy: The plan calls for a district reorganization, with fourth grade moved to Newfane Elementary School and fifth grade moved to the middle school. The Early Childhood Center would become a full-day school, allowing for savings in the transportation budget. The budget also includes bringing Advancement Via Individual Determination, or AVID, to eighth- and ninth-graders, a program to encourage college readiness for students who struggle academically.
* Voters were asked to approve a $31.5 million spending plan that uses $3.2 million in reserve funds to balance the budget at the contingency level. The district suffered the loss of $1.6 million in state aid and cut its administrative budget by almost 2.5 percent.
There were four candidates for two, three-year terms on the seven-member board:
* Incumbent Patrick Kilcullen, 49, vice president of finance at Ciminelli Development Co. for 2 1/2 years. If elected, Kilcullen will serve his second full term.
* Debra Workman, 23, a social worker with Kidspeace Foster Care who is attending University at Buffalo in pursuit of a master's degree in social work.
* Frederick Pieszala, 59, a business owner and retired Delphi Harrison employee of 33 years.
* James Little.
Incumbent Cynthia Ames did not seek re-election.

Niagara Falls

* Candidates (Elect two to five-year terms): (Elect 2): Robert M. Restaino (1,689); Carmelette Rotella (i) (1,258); Joseph Marinello Jr. (913); Duane Thomas Jr. (844); Jeanette Stypa (749).
* Total budget: $121.1 million, down 4 percent. Passed (Yes, 1,689; No, 1,004).
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $18.815 per $1,000, unchanged from this year.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,882.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 19.9 percent.
* Percentage of budget from state aid: 73.5 percent.
* Noteworthy: For the 18th consecutive year, the School Board has adopted a budget proposal with no increase in the tax levy. The amount of money to be raised by local school taxes remains unchanged at $25.1 million. To achieve this result, an estimated 101 staff positions will be eliminated, as will the Niagara Falls High School summer camp and the children's day-care program at the Community Education Center.
* The candidates for two five-year terms on the School Board were:
* Carmelette Rotella, 63, a retired teacher and guidance counselor in the city school system and teachers union executive.
* Duane Thomas Jr., 28, a minister, founder and pastor of Changing a Generation Ministries in Niagara Falls.
* Jeanette Stypa, 57, a former member of the School Board who served for 16 years, and who now supports term limits for School Board members.
* Robert M. Restaino, 51, a former judge who served on the benches of five different courts but was removed because of an incident involving a ringing cell phone in 2005 in one of his courtrooms.
* Joseph Marinello Jr., 38, a stay-at-home father of four children who suffered a career-ending back injury while working for Rural Metro Medical Services in 2002.
Incumbent Robert Kazeangin Jr. did not seek re-election.

Niagara Wheatfield

* Candidates (Elect three to three-year terms, a fourth for remaining year on unexpired term): Rich Halleen (1,053); David Breier (814); Christopher Peters (809); Steven Sabo (552); Daniel Maerten (552). Sabo and Maerten tied for fourth. Kevin Smith (i) (523); Richard Sirianni (522); Michelle Hoerner (i) (522); William Conrad (i) (502); Demonthenes Klidonas (47).
* Total Budget: $62.9 million, down 9 percent. Passed (Yes, 1,003; No, 629).
* Property tax rate per $1,000: $21 projected average for homestead properties; $28.51 projected average for non-homestead, up 3 percent.
* Taxes on a home valued at $100,000: $2,100.
* Percentage of budget from taxes: 40 percent.
* Percentage from aid: 48 percent.
* Noteworthy: A reduction in state aid of more than $4 million for next school year has forced the first job eliminations in a number of years. Slated to be cut are 11 teachers, four school-related personnel and two administrative positions, including the athletic director. Superintendent Carl Militello has taken a voluntary 3-percent pay cut and removed the mileage clause from his contract.
* The candidates for three, three year school board terms, as well as an unexpired year in a fourth seat, were:
* Incumbent board president William Conrad, who's had 24 years in the military and works with the State Dormitory Authority.
* Incumbent Michelle Hoerner, who works for Island/Tonawanda Pediatrics.
* Incumbent Kevin Smith, a sergeant with the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.
* Demonthenes "Denny" Klidonas, operates First Step Child Care and sells for a pharmaceutical company.
* Rich Halleen, whose family runs Halleen's Wholesale Cars on Military Road.
* Daniel Maerten, who works for his family plumbing and heating company.
* Christopher Peters, an insurance agent.
* Richard Sirianni, who has been financial secretary for unions and has arranged educational seminars and worked in budgets and banking for the organizations.
* David Breier, who helps manage a manufacturing firm.
* Steven Sabo, a teacher in North Tonawanda.
The fourth-highest vote getter will win the remaining one-year term of the seat vacated by Lori Pittman.

North Tonawanda

* Candidates (Elect two to three-year terms, elect one to a two-year term): Donna Braun (1,177); Frank DiBernardo (i) (1,059); Colleen Osborn (989); Barbara McCarthy (977); Robert Albeiter (838).
* Total budget: $64.6 million, up 4.8 percent. Failed (Yes, 813; No, 1,121.)
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $20.64 per $1,000, up 1.95 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,064, or $1,445 with Basic STAR.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 49.8 percent.
* Percentage of budget from state aid: 51.2 percent.
* Noteworthy: Officials eliminated freshman and intermediate-level modified sports, as well as the gifted and talented program. The district would lose the equivalent of 59 full-time positions and expend nearly $1 million from its reserve funds.
* Voters were asked to approve a $64.6 million budget that raises the tax levy by 1.95 percent. The loss of $2 million in state aid left officials scrambling to close a $5 million budget gap. The goal was to evenly distribute cuts across the budget, said Superintendent Gregory Woytila, but modified sports and the gifted and talented program were decimated. The district is developing a five-year financial plan for reincorporating programs it cut or reduced back into future budgets.
There were five candidates running for two, three-year board terms on the seven-member board:
* Incumbent Frank DiBernardo, 45, a manufacturing engineer at General motors for 15 years. If elected, DiBernardo will serve his second term.
* Robert Albeiter, 56, owner of Downtown Auto Center in North Tonawanda. If elected, he will will serve his fourth term. He served on the board from 2001 to 2010.
* Donna Braun, 51, a supervisor at Med Recovery Management for eight years. If elected, Braun will serve her first term.
* Colleen Osborn, 35, a registered nurse. If elected, Osborn will serve her first term.
* Barbara McCarthy, 59, an energy assistance worker for the New York State HEAP program.
The third highest vote-getter is elected to finish the unexpired term of Martin Burruano, who resigned his post May 11. Incumbent Michael Carney did not seek re-election.

Royalton-Hartland

* Candidates (Elect three to three-year terms): Jeffrey Waters (i) (498); Keith Bond (i) (484); Kenneth Koch (473).
* Total budget: $22.5 million, down 1.47 percent. Passed(Yes, 406; No, 235).
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $22.14 per $1,000.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,214, up 4.8 percent.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 40.3 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 50.5 percent.
* Noteworthy: Football is back this year, thanks to a $20,000 donation from the Roy-Hart Sports Boosters Club and additional cuts made by coaches to their team's budgets. The district spending plan calls for $645,000 in cuts and asks to use roughly $375,000 in reserve funds.
Voters were asked to approve a $22.5 million spending plan that comes with a 4.8 percent increase in the tax levy.
The three candidates for three, three-year terms were:
* Incumbent Keith Bond, 54, a part-time caterer and head of summer recreation for the Town of Hartland for three years. If elected, Bond will serve his second term.
* Jeffrey Waters, 42, sergeant for the Middleport Police Department for 18 years. If elected, Waters will serve his second term.
* Kenneth Koch, 49, a network engineer for Erie 1 BOCES for five years. If elected, Koch will serve his first term.
Incumbent Mary Smith did not seek re-election.

Starpoint

* Candidates (Elect three to three-year terms): Joseph Miller (i) (843); Danielle Keller (i) (839); Brett Lombardo (834).
* Total budget: $44.8 million, up 1.4 percent. Passed (Yes, 686; No, 424).
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $21.67 per $1,000, up 1.9 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,167; $1,517 with Basic STAR or $1,084 with Enhanced STAR.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 54.1 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 39.9 percent.
* Noteworthy: The district saved $550,000 from its retirement incentive program and $180,000 by opening a third- through fifth-grades special education class for eight students in house.
Voters were asked to approve a $44.8 million spending plan with a 3.8 percent increase in the tax levy.
*The three candidates for three, three-year terms were:
* Incumbent Joseph Miller, 47, a sales manager for Veraview, a video conferencing consulting firm, for two years. If elected, Miller will serve his second term.
* Incumbent Danielle Keller, 33, manager of education for Upstate New York Transplant Services for almost four years. If elected, Keller will serve her first full term. She's served on the board since February.
* Brett Lombardo, 41, a consultant for Annese and Associates for six years. If elected, Lombardo will serve his first term.
Incumbent Lisa Taylor did not seek re-election.

Wilson

* Candidates (Elected three to three-year terms and one to a one-year term): John Clement (i) (358); George Waters (i) (343); Don DeLisi (i) (321); Christopher Carlin (one-year term) (i) (369).
* Total budget: $23.4 million, down 1.8 percent. Passed (Yes, 329; No, 116).
* Proposition 2: To establish a capital reserve fund of up to $5 million. Passed (Yes, 316; No, 126).
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 46 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 46 percent.
* Noteworthy: The budget calls for the loss of roughly 15 full-time positions, including one administrator. Another administrator will be shared with Barker. District officials did not answer questions involving the estimated property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value, the total amount to be raised through property taxes and the estimated taxes on a $100,000 home.
* Proposition 2: Would allow the district to establish a capital reserve fund of up to $5 million. The reserve would be funded by appropriating leftover funds from each year's budget, in amounts determined by the board.
* Voters were asked to approve a $23.4 million budget that was balanced despite the loss of $1.6 million in state aid.
* The three candidates for three, three-year terms were:
* Incumbent Don DeLisi, 56, a controls engineer for Integrated Industrial Resources for three years. If elected, DeLisi will serve his fourth term.
* Incumbent John Clement, 48, maintenance supervisor for Modern Disposal for 22 years. If elected, Clement will serve his third term.
* Incumbent George Waters, who works for RL Stone Co.
If elected, incumbent Christopher Carlin will finish the unexpired term of Jack Hannah, who was elected two years ago. Carlin has served on the board since December.

News Niagara Correspondent Michael Rizzo handled the bulk of this report, with contributions from News Niagara Reporter Richard E. Baldwin and Niagara Correspondent Thad Komorowski.

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee | djgee@buffnews.com


Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes | tlankes@buffnews.com


Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone | stan@buffnews.com


Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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