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Live blog of State Ed videoconference on school turnaround plans

Buffalo Public Schools administrators and board members will be responding this afternoon to State Ed's questions regarding the district's school turnaround plans.

- Mary Pasciak

Live blog of final Ferry District candidate interview

At 12:30 p.m. today, the Board of Ed will interview an eighth candidate who surfaced for the Ferry District seat.

- Mary Pasciak

Williamsville superintendent appointment leaves many puzzled

Scott Martzloff has already made quite an impression as Williamsville's next superintendent.

At 7-foot-1, the former Division I and minor league basketball player towers over just about everyone.

Martzloff(That's Martzloff shaking hands the other night with the man he's soon going to replace, Superintendent Howard Smith. Yes, they're both standing up.)

But Martzloff's height is hardly the only thing that has people talking.

Martzloff's resume has also made quite an impression.

In the past few days, I've had everyone from Williamsville residents to administrators in other districts ask me why the Williamsville School Board selected him.

Consider:

- With only three years experience in the classroom, Martzloff never received tenure as a teacher.

- He served as an assistant principal in various positions, but never worked as a building principal.

- Martzloff has never held any position longer than three years.

- He never held a central office position prior to being named superintendent of Byron-Bergen.

- He has been a superintendent less than two years in Byron-Bergen, a district one-tenth the size of Williamsville.

There are literally more students at Williamsville East High School alone than there are in the entire Byron-Bergen School District.

Apparently, Martzloff's lack of experience did not faze the Williamsville School Board, which voted unanimously to hire him.

News reporter Sandy Tan wrote:

School Board President William Freeman introduced Martzloff, calling him a "rising star" with "exceptional integrity" and "first-rate intellect."

"It's clear he is a person of collaboration," Freeman said.

At 40, Martzloff will be one of the youngest superintendents in the state, leading one of the largest suburban districts in New York. And, of course, he'll be making one of the biggest salaries around, at $200,000 -- which equates to more than a $50,000 raise over what he makes in Byron-Bergen.

- Mary Pasciak

Sharing the pain? Answering the questions?

The Board of Ed won a few concessions from the district in the 2011-12 budget.

After board members complained that the maximum class size had gone too high and that the district needed to start reinstating attendance teachers, CFO Barb Smith found an extra $1 million in the nearly $800 million budget.

The money, she said, came from recalculating a spot in the budget that was derived from an average teacher salary. She tweaked the figure she used for an average salary, and squeaked out an extra $1 million. What did the board want to do with that money?

Well, the board decided to split the money. Half went toward putting more teachers in the classroom. That worked out to nine teachers, which puts the max class size at 30 for grades four through six, instead of a max of 32.

The other half of the $1 million will be set aside for attendance teachers.

So most board members were satisfied with those restorations. The board approved the budget, 5-2.

The budget, you might remember, includes the elimination of 302 positions. That's likely to work out to about 75 teacher layoffs and 75 teacher aide layoffs, once all the dust settles. The district saved $4 million alone by increasing maximum class sizes (in other words, cutting teachers).

Those of you who have been following along might recall that back in March, when there was quite some concern about the fact that the superintendent has doubled the size of his exempt staff, some board members made quite a bit of noise about insisting that those exempts would see cuts, too, if teachers were cut.

Here's what one board member said at the time, looking ahead to the 2011-12 budget:

"We obviously are going to have to close some buildings, lay some people off," said board President Ralph R. Hernandez. "My position is that there has to be equity across the board in regard to layoffs, everybody sharing the pain -- and that includes [Williams'] administrators."

Well, that never came to pass. The adopted budget leaves all 28 non-union employees in place, although a small portion of the funding for salaries was shifted from the general fund budget to grant funding.

But when the board briefly discussed the budget Wednesday night prior to voting on it, Mary Ruth Kapsiak raised a few questions -- questions she had asked last week about the budget, but apparently still had not received answers to.

Chief among her questions: Why had two positions, the director of ELA and director of math, been eliminated? With so many schools being designated as persistently lowest-achieving, based on poor student performance in those areas, this doesn't seem to be a good time to be eliminating those jobs, Kapsiak argued.

She had other questions about budget items, too -- for instance, an employee who was supposed to have been terminated, but somehow got back into the budget -- and asked that the board wait until she got answers to those questions before voting on the budget.

Rosalyn Taylor agreed.

"If there is one board member who's not ready to vote on the budget, then we need to wait until their questions have been addressed," Taylor said.

Smith said waiting would not be a good idea. Because 30-day employee layoff notices need to be sent out, she said, the board should adopt the budget as soon as possible, so that those notices would get sent out before the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30.

(Last year, the board also laid off dozens of employees. When did it adopt the budget? June 16.)

Hernandez suggested holding a special meeting on Friday to adopt the budget, to allow time for Kapsiak's questions to be answered. Smith will be on vacation then, Williams said. So that killed the idea of a special meeting on Friday to adopt the budget.

A few seconds later, Hernandez called a vote on the budget. It passed, 5-2, with Kapsiak and Taylor voting no.

Before the meeting was over, it's worth noting, the board decided to hold a special meeting at 12:30 p.m. Friday, to interview a final candidate for the Ferry District seat.

- Mary Pasciak

Live blog of Board of Ed meeting: New 5 p.m. start time

The Board of Education committee meeting that was scheduled for 4 p.m. has been canceled. Our live blog will begin at 5 p.m. today, with a hearing on a local charter school. That will be followed by the regular board meeting at 5:30 p.m.

- Mary Pasciak

Review the live blog of Ferry District candidate interviews

- Mary Pasciak

Running blog from Board of Ed committee meeting on budget

Review the live blog from Buffalo Board of Education committee meetings

School election results in Erie 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, and will not be finalized until this summer.

Alden, Amherst, Cheektowaga, Cheektowaga-Sloan, Clarence, Cleveland Hill, Depew, East Aurora, Eden, Frontier, Grand Island, Hamburg, Holland, Iroquois, Kenmore-Tonawanda, Lackawanna, Lake Shore, Lancaster, Maryvale, North Collins, Orchard Park, Springville-Griffith, Sweet Home, Tonawanda, West Seneca, Williamsville

AKRON
     Candidates: (Elect 2): Kevin Stone (i), 522; Tracy Sturmer, 415; Richard Hegemann, 311; L. Eileen Regan, 223;, Mark Barszcz, 253.
     Budget: $28.9 million. Passed. Yes, 501; No, 468.

Alden

* Candidates (Elect 1): Michael Bennett (769).
* Total budget: $31.81 million, up 1.92 percent. Passed,  544 to 476.
.* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $36.56, up 5.72 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $13.68 million, up 5.72 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,865.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 43 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 38 percent.
* Proposition 2: Purchase school buses and other vehicles at an estimated maximum cost of $440,000, with no impact on the tax levy. Passed, 634 to 389.
* Proposition 3: Spend $125,000 from the capital reserve fund to purchase equipment. Passed, 606 to 417.
A year after approving a budget that lowered spending, Alden voters will consider a proposal with a spending increase of less than 2 percent.
Under the proposal, tax rates would increase by 5.72 percent, costing the owner of a $100,000 home about $100 more in property taxes over the current year.
In the race for one seat on the School Board, Michael Bennett is unopposed.

Amherst

* Candidates (Elect 2): Ann Marie Carosella (i), Illana Lane (i) and Ernest Hausmann.
* Total budget: $47.1 million. Passed, 663 to 377.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $20.33.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $30.34 million.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,034.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 64.35 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 16.9 percent.
When voters go to the polls, they will consider a $47.14 million budget that would decrease spending by $342,405 over the current budget.
Voters also will elect two to the seven-member School Board. Three candidates are running for two three-year terms. They are:
* Ann Marie Carosella, 51, an incumbent, seeking election to a second term. She works at the University at Buffalo's Behavioral Medicine Clinic.
* Illana Lane, 43, an incumbent, seeking election to a second term. She is the dean of the School of Education at Medaille College.
* Ernest Hausmann, 81, a newcomer, is the chief scientific adviser at Imagination Software Corporation.

To view profiles submitted by the candidates, click here.

Cheektowaga

* Candidates (Elect 1): Christine L. Adamczyk (i) (331) and Mitchell A. Martin (289).
* Total budget: $38.75 million, down 1.77 percent. Passed, 362 to 278.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $27.02, up 2 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $21.2 million, up 2 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,672.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 54.7 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 31.9 percent.
* Proposition 2: Continue to allow one high school student to serve as an ex-officio non-voting member of the School Board for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. Passed, 500 to 127.
Twenty-two positions will be cut, overall spending will decrease, but taxes will go up slightly if voters pass the proposed school budget.
Under the spending plan, 10 teachers would lose their jobs.
Meanwhile, officials say that they don't expect increases in class sizes and that educational programs and extracurricular activities should remain at current levels.
Voters also will elect one person to a five-year term on the seven-member School Board. Three candidates are running for the seat. They are:
* Christine Adamczyk, 46, an incumbent, is seeking election to an third term. She works as a receptionist in a pediatrician's office.
* Mitchell Martin, 41, is a self-employed small-business consultant. He has previously run for the Cheektowaga Central School Board two times and once for the Depew School Board.
A third candidate, Kevin Vullo, has withdrawn from the race but will still appear on the ballot.

Cheektowaga-Sloan

* Candidates (Elect 1): Denise McCowan, (i) (503), and Leonard Siwinski (358).
* Total budget: $33.01 million, up 2.32 percent. Passed, 488 to 440.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $50.80 for Cheektowaga, up 9.8 percent; $69.97 for West Seneca, up 9.8 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $14.26 million, up 10.49 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $3,150.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 43 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 38 percent.
* Proposition 2: Spend up to $1.5 million from the Capital Improvement Reserve fund to pay for repairs to the roofs at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary and John F. Kennedy Middle and High schools. Passed,  623 to 294.

 Proposition 3: Allow a student to serve as a non-voting member of the School Board. Passed, 645 to 269.

Cheektowaga-Sloan School Board members adopted a budget that is near the contingency level to deal with a loss of $1.7 million in state aid.
Eight full-time and four part-time positions would be cut, and four full-time positions would be reduced to part-time. The cuts will mean higher class sizes and a reduction in some electives. The budget also would cut 28 clubs and activities and four sports.
Two candidates are running for one five-year seat on the School Board. They are:
* Denise McCowan, 44, an incumbent, is seeking election to her first full term. She operates Southtowns Answering Service and has volunteered at Renaissance House and other community activities.
* Leonard Siwinski, 73, is a retired U.S. Postal Service supervisor and accounting technician, and a member of Doyle Hose Company No 1.

To view profiles submitted by the candidates, click here.

Clarence

* Candidates: (Elect 3): Maryellen Kloss (i), 1,178; Michael B. Lex (i), 1,000; Julie A. McCullough (i), 996; Brendan Biddlecom, 766; Roy Olsen, 666; Gregory P. Thrun, 532.
* Total budget: $70.6 million, down 2.2 percent. Passed, 1,388 to 595.

* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $14.42, up 1.8 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $39.5 million, up 2.8 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,442.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 56 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 54.4 percent.
Voters will consider a $70.6 million budget that would decrease spending by $1.55 million from the current budget.
Voters will also elect three members to the seven-member School Board. Each of the candidates is running for a three-year seat. They are:
* Maryellen Kloss, 46, a two-term incumbent, is director of finances for the Sisters of St. Joseph.
* Michael Lex, 53, a four-term incumbent, is a supervisor in the Erie County Probation Department.
* Julie McCullough, 64, a three-term incumbent, is a retired teacher of health and physical education at Williamsville South High School.
* Brendan Biddlecom, 31, is director of business development for Energy Curtailment Specialists.
* Roy Olsen, 52, is vice president of facilities with Delaware North Cos.
* Greogry Thrun, 48, is vice president of labor relations at Cornerstone CFCU.

To view profiles submitted by the candidates, click here.

Cleveland Hill

* Candidates (Elect 1): Julie Horton (i).
* Total budget: $28.98 million, up 1.92 percent. Passed, Yes, 219; No, 167.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $44.34 for Cheektowaga, up 4 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $11.6 million, up 4 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,749.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 40 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 39.24 percent.
Taxes would go up 4 percent under the $28.98 million spending plan.
State aid to the district is dropping by more than 8 percent. The equivalent of about seven teaching positions will be cut.
Incumbent Julie Horton is unopposed for the School Board.

Depew

* Candidates (Elect 3): Michael Fusani, 697; Barbara Staebell (i), 575; Steven Carmina (i), 560; Coutrney Celej, 435.
* Total budget: $37.8 million, up 0.22 percent. Passed, Yes, 406; No, 348.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $33.28 for Cheektowaga, up 1.9 percent; $20.63 for Lancaster, up 1.9 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $15.8 million, up 2.92 percent.Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $3,328 in Cheektowaga; $2,063 for Lancaster.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 41.81 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 44.30 percent.
* Proposition 2: $15.9 million capital project, financed with 85 percent state aid and the remainder from district reserves. Passed, Yes, 609; No, 347.
When voters go to the polls, they will consider a $37.8 million budget that would increase spending by $81,838 over the current budget.
Voters also will elect three to the seven-member School Board. There are four candidates running for two three-year seats and the remaining year on the term of Timothy Schunk, who has resigned as of June 30.
They are:
* Steven Carmina, current board president and a certified public accountant, seeking a fourth term.
* Barbara Staebell, current board vice president and a senior staff assistant in the University at Buffalo's office of the chief information officer. She is seeking a fourth term.
* Courtney Celej, who graduates in June from Depew High School, and plans to attend Medaille College this fall.
* Michael Fusani, a student at Buffalo State College, coach for the Saints Hockey Club and rink guard for the Depew Village Recreation Department.

To view profiles submitted by the candidates, click here.

East Aurora

* Candidates (Elect 3): Jessica Byrnes Armbrust, 779; Stephen Zagrobelny (i), 692; Daniel Brunson (i), 644; Judith A. Malys, 524; Nicole Morris-McLaughlin, 492; James W. Whitcomb (i), 453.
* Total budget: $27.87 million, down .36 percent. Passed, 916 to 402
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $34.83 for Aurora; $31.80 for Colden; and $301.57 for Elma; all reflect 3.4 percent increases.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $16.82 million, up 3.4 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,463.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 60.4 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 26.4 percent.
* Proposition 2: None.
The budget proposal would raise taxes by 3.4 percent and cuts nearly 15 full-time equivalent positions districtwide, including one section of kindergarten, though it preserves class sizes and keeps the bulk of programming intact.
Voters also will elect three to School Board. The candidates are:
* Daniel Brunson, 65, an incumbent and board president, has served for nine years and is seeking a fourth term. He is a retired district teacher and administrator.
* James Whitcomb, 58, is running for his third term. He is a lawyer and partner with Phillips Lytle LLP in Buffalo.
* Stephen Zagrobelny, 45, is seeking re-election to a fourth term. He is a vice president of ValueCentric LLC in Orchard Park, managing its application development team.
* Judith Malys, 62, is a newcomer seeking election. She is a retired nurse and retired as an East Aurora special-education teacher and had served as gifted and talented coordinator.
* Jessica Byrnes Armbrust, 40, a newcomer. A member of the Parent Teacher Organization at Parkdale Elementary School, she is a community volunteer and was treasurer of the East Aurora Preschool Center.
* Nicole Morris-McLaughlin, 32, also in her first run for the board. She is project coordinator for the Parkdale community garden and development director for the Educators Institute for Human Rights, a local nonprofit organization.

To view profiles submitted by the candidates, click here.

Eden

* Candidates (Elect 4): R. Colin Campbell, 689; Michael Breeden, 581; Brian Burgstahler (i), 552; Steven Cerne (i), 528; Peter Duringer, 510; Robert J. Reed, 409.
* Total budget: $26.1 million, down 0.14 percent. Passed,  609 to 387.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value (estimated): Eden 28.32, no change.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes (estimated): $12.54 million, up 1.62 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,841.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 47.93 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 34.66 percent.
* Proposition 2: Purchase school buses and similar vehicles and equipment to be used in the district transportation program at a cost not to exceed $159,475. Passed, 571 to 420
* Proposition 3: Select a student who will serve as an ex officio member of the Board of Education. Passed, 742 to 241.
The 26.1 million budget that voters in the Eden Central School District will vote on Tuesday is slightly lower, by 0.14 percent, than this year's spending plan. Six candidates are seeking election to four seats on the School Board. They are: current board President Brian Burgstahler, 45, retired from the U.S. Air Force, who is seeking his second term; Steven Cerne, 46, a management consultant, who is also seeking his second term on the board and has served as board president; and challengers, Robert Reed, Colin Campbell, Michael Breeden and Peter Duringer.

Frontier

* Candidates (Elect 1): Paul Pellicano (i), Lynn M. Burke.
* Total budget: $74.62 million, up 2.19 percent. Passed.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $23.95 for Hamburg, up 2.82 percent; $22.48 for Eden, up 2.82 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $32.8 million, up by 3.1 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,461.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 44 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 38.1 percent.
* Proposition 2: Buy 10 school buses for $1.05 million. Passed.
* Proposition 3: Approve a $29.75 million capital improvement project, with work primarily based at the high school. Passed.
Voters face a $76.62 million budget that raises spending by 2 percent and carries a few staff cuts but leaves programming pretty much intact and maintains current class sizes and most extracurricular activities.
The district also is seeking voter approval of a $29.75 million capital project to pay for repairs and upgrades districtwide and also to renovate science and art rooms at the middle and high schools, while a library media center would be built onto the high school.
A resident with a home assessed at $100,000 would face $17 more per year in taxes to help pay for the capital project, if it is approved.
Voters also will elect one School Board member for a five-year term to the nine-member board. Running are:
* Incumbent Paul Pellicano, 66, who has been on the board for 25 years and is seeking a sixth term. He is the owner of Pellicano's Market in Wheatfield.
* Challenger Lynn Burke, 37, in her first run for School Board. She is a Frontier graduate and certified public accountant and finance executive for a national parenting education program.

     GOWANDA
     Candidates: (Elect 3): Mark Nephew (i), 312; Sheri Wing (i) (319) and Lynn Hammond (i) (292); Joseph DeCarlo (284); Joseph Vogtli (251); Peter Delpriore (268).
     Budget: $25.5 million, down 2.57 percent. Yes, 386; No, 268.
     Proposition 2: Purchase school buses and other vehicles for transportation program, at a cost not to exceed $290,000. Yes, 377; No, 163.

Grand Island

* Candidates (Elect 3): Takayuki Nobumoto, 1,207; Emily Ciraolo, 1,083; Joan Droit, 1,046; Richard Little Jr. (i), 631; Brian Chapin, 617; Phyllis Stallard, 393; Myrna Blair (i), 364.
* Total budget: $51.86 million, down .04 percent. Passed, 1,366 to 565.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $18.52.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $28.13 million.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,852.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 54 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 29 percent.
* Proposition 2: Purchase school buses and vehicles totaling $671,212. Passed,  1,203 to 643.
Voters will consider a $51.86 million budget that would decrease spending by $22,154.
Voters also will elect three to the seven-member School Board. The candidates are:
* Richard Little Jr., 38, an incumbent, is seeking election to a third term. He is a project architect at Cannon Design.
* Myrna Blair, 76, an incumbent, is seeking election to a sixth term. She is a part-time accountant in a doctor's office.
* Brian Chapin, 45, a newcomer, is the chief operating officer of Sec-Cured Solutions.
* Joan Droit, 74, a newcomer, is a retired teacher.
* Phyllis Stallard, 49, a newcomer, is a local writer who's starting a home renovation business with her husband and son.
* Emily Ciraolo, 23, a newcomer, is a corporate communications consultant at National Fuel.
* Takayuki Nobumoto, 42, a newcomer, is the director of Project Symphony at Mount St. Mary's Hospital in Lewiston.

To view profiles submitted by the candidates, click here.

Hamburg

* Candidates (Elect 2): Thomas F. Flynn III, 1379; Holly A. Balaya, 1058; Gary R. Klumpp, 1001; Sally A. Stephenson, 985.
     Budget: $56.8 million, up 3.1 percent. Passed, 1,392 to 1,018.
* Property tax rates per $1,000 assessed value: Hamburg $30.92, Eden $29.02, Boston, $18.86, Orchard Park, $32.52; all increases of 6.1-6.7 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $30.5 million, up 6.5 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home: $1,886.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 53.7 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 35.6 percent.
* Proposition 2: Spend $34.7 million on a districtwide capital improvement project. Passed, 1,446 to 918.

The proposed $56.8 million budget is $1,695,493 higher than the current year.
Voters will also select two new School Board members from a candidate pool of four. The two individuals with the largest number of votes will each win a three-year term on the board. Incumbents Gregory J. Wichlacz and Casey Neyman are not seeking re-election.
* Holly Balaya, mother of six, is a nursing supervisor at Women & Children's' Hospital.
* Thomas Flynn III, an assistant vice president of M&T Bank.
* Gary Klumpp is a baseball instructor and clinic director at New Era School of Baseball.
* Sally Stephensen is a former deputy supervisor and councilwoman for the Town Of Hamburg.

 Holland

* Candidates (Elect 1): Joseph Levesque, 733; William Thomson, 624; Frank Kolbmann, 194. (Elect 1): Kelleen Kensy, 787; Taina Armstrong Hoffman, 776.
     Budget: $18 million, down 1.1 percent. Passed, 963 to 562.
* Property tax rates per $1,000 assessed value: $14.60, up 10 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $7 million, up 10 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (estimate): $1,460.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 38.9 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 47.8 percent.
* Proposition 2: Purchase a 66-passenger bus, a 34-passenger van and a nine-passenger van with an estimated cost of $174,000. Passed,  954 to 572.
Residents will vote on an $18 million spending plan that is $191,087 lower than the current year. A transportation proposal will also appear on the ballot.
Voters will also choose two school board members for five-year terms.
* Frank Kolbman is a tractor-trailer driver with children who attend the 5th and 8th grade in the district.
* William Thomson, a Strykersville resident, has three children and has volunteered as a youth baseball and hockey coach.
* Joseph Levesque is a law enforcement officer and Army veteran.
* Kelleen Kensey, a former School Board member, is a business-owner whose two children are Holland graduates.
* Taina Armstrong Hoffmann is a business-owner with two young children.

To view profiles submitted by the candidates, click here.

Iroquois

* Candidates: (Elect 2) Paul Bracci (i), David Lowrey (i).
* Total budget: $41.9 million, up 2.1 percent. Failed, 809 to 909.
* Property tax rates per $1,000 assessed value: Aurora $38.14, up 5.8 percent; Elma $325.83, up 4.3 percent; Lancaster $15.64, up 3.3 percent; Marilla $34.75, up 5.5 percent; Wales $35.54, up 3.3 percent; Bennington $34.12, up 2.8 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $24.8 million, up 5.5 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,564.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 59 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 28 percent.
* Proposition 2: Purchase three passenger buses and one eight-passenger suburban and one five-passenger car with an estimated maximum cost of $363,500. Passed, 867 to 843.
* Proposition 3: Spend $60,000 for technology and establish a general capital reserve fund. Passed, 919 to 798.
Voters will decide on a $41.9 million budget, up $863,348 from the current year.
Separate propositions for bus purchases, not to exceed $363,500 and an authorization to expend $60,000 for technology and to establish a general capital reserve fund will also appear on the ballot.
Paul Bracci and David Lowrey, both incumbents, are unopposed.

Kenmore-Tonawanda

* Candidates: (Elect 2): Judy Frank, 2,455; Jeff Rickan, 1,558.
     Budget: $147.23 million, down .02 percent. Passed, Yes, 2,045; No, 1,120.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $41.14, up 6.68 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $69.43 million, down 4.27 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,924, based on assessed value of $46,750.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 47 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 30 percent.
* Proposition 2: Purchase up to three, 66-passenger school buses; five, 29-passenger school buses and two wheelchair buses at a total cost not to exceed $773,930. Passed, Yes, 1,765; No, 1,392
Voters will consider a $147.23 million budget in which spending has gone down by $32,616.
Voters also will elect two people to the five-member School Board. Judy Frank and Jeff Rickan are unopposed for School Board seats.

Lackawanna

* Candidates: (Elect 3): George W. Halsey III, John E. Ingram, David M. Joyce, Kenneth S. Motyka, Maureen Murphy-Gambino and Nicholas M. Sobaszek.
* Total budget: $45.13 million, up 2.57 percent. Passed.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: homestead rate, $10.35, up 45 cents or 4.58 percent; nonhomestead rate, $36.13, up $2.77, or 8.32 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $8.59 million, up 4.88 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,035.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 19 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 61.7 percent.
* Proposition 2:
* Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. in Martin Road Elementary School.
When voters go to the polls, they will consider a $45.13 million budget that would increase spending by $1.13 million over the current budget.
Six candidates are vying for three spots on the seven-member School Board.
The candidates are:
* George Halsey III, 51, a nonprofit agency administrator, who served on the Lackawanna City Council from 1990 to 1994.
* John Ingram, 54.
* David Joyce, 45, a Lackawanna police officer, who was appointed in March to the seat vacated by Kevin Rozwood.
* Kenneth Motyka, 56, served on the school board from 1995-2001 and lost in a 2003 run. Motyka is a retired civilian dispatcher for the Lackawanna Police Department.
* Maureen Murphy-Gambino, 55, was appointed last November to serve the rest of the term of departed board member Ernesto C. Leonetti, which runs through June 30. Murphy-Gambino works as secretary to Lackawanna Mayor Norman L. Polanski Jr.
* Nicholas Sobaszek, 25.

Lake Shore

* Candidates: (Elect 2): Carmen Garozzo (i) (648), Carla Thompson (i) (754), Kenneth West (611).
* Total budget: $51.27 million, down .59 percent. Passed, 681 to 453.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $16.37 for Evans, up 2.7 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $15.6 million, up 2.7 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,637.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 30 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 49 percent.
* Proposition 2: Purchase several buses for a total maximum estimated cost of $576,843.87. Rejected, 569 to 550.
* Polls open: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the High School, 959 Beach Road, Angola.
For the third straight year, voters will consider a budget that decreases spending. The 2.7 percent tax levy increase is a result of a $5.2 million reduction in state aid.
Voters also will decide whether to authorize the School Board to spend nearly $577,000 on six school buses.
Voters also will elect two members to the School Board. The candidates are:
They are:
* Incumbent Carmen Garozzo, who has served as vice president of the board.
* Incumbent Carla Thompson, a former teacher.
* Kenneth West.

Lancaster

* Candidates: (Elect 3): Marie MacKay (i), Robert Szatkowski and Patrick Uhteg.
* Total budget: $87.6 million, up 2.05 percent. Passed.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $15.95 for Lancaster, up 8.73 percent. $25.72 for Cheektowaga, up 8.71 percent. $337.33 for Elma, up 8.69 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $43.6 million, up 9.66 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,595.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 49.8 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 30.9 percent.
* Proposition 2: Spend $1.1 million from the School Bus Reserve Fund to buy 10 replacement buses. The district said this proposition will have no tax impact. Passed.
* Proposition 3: Give the School Board permission to sell the 200-foot-by-300-foot "spray-pool" parcel to the Village of Lancaster for $1. Passed.
* Web link: www.lancasterschools.org
Voters will decide on an $87.6 million budget that would boost spending by $1.76 million, or 2.05 percent, over the budget for the 2010-11 school year.
Voters also will elect three people to the seven-member School Board. There are three candidates, including one incumbent, running unopposed for the seats.

Maryvale

* Candidates: (Elect 2) Patricia Keller 401, Tammy McCarthy 319.
* Total budget: $35.54 million, up 0.67 percent. Passed.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $29.97 to $30.12, up 4.42 percent to 4.94 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $18 million, up 4.94 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,858 to $1,867.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 51.33 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 37.78 percent.
* Proposition 2: Establish a capital reserve fund of up to $3 million to be used for future building repairs and projects. Passed.
* Proposition 3: Allow a student to serve on the School Board in a nonvoting capacity. Passed.
* Proposition 4: Sell the Maryvale pool and the Winston-Vegola playground properties to Cheektowaga for $60,000. Passed.
* Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. in the gym of the High School 9-10 Building, Robert A. Binner Educational Center, 1050 Maryvale Dr.
School Board members approved a proposed budget that spends less than 1 percent more than this year to help deal with the loss of state aid. Taxes would increase less than 5 percent.
The budget would cut five teaching positions, along with 1.5 nonteaching staff positions.
Residents also will vote on three additional propositions, one to establish a fund for future building repairs, one to allow a student serve as a nonvoting board member and another to sell the Maryvale pool and Winston-Vegola playground to the Town of Cheektowaga.
Patricla Keller and Tammy McCarthy are unopposed for the School Board.

North Collins

* Candidates (Elect 3): Michelle Cyrek (i), Michael Stefan (245), Misty D. Decker-Fallon, David M. Gier (i) (225), Shannon Locking (302).
* Total budget: $14.69 million,down 2.19 percent. Passed, 302 to 202.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $20.05, up 3.2 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $4,722,265, up 3.9 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home: $2,005.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 32 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 46 percent.
* Proposition 2: Purchase of transportation vehicles, of a number and type not yet determined, not to exceed $200,000. Passed, 314 to 180.
Residents will vote on a budget that is down from last year's overall, but that will increase taxes by $43 on a typical $100,000 home in the town.
Also, voters will decide whether to approve the spending of $200,000 on transportation vehicles for the district's fleet.
In the School Board race, four candidates are running for three open seats on the board.
* Incumbent Michelle Cyrek, 38, previously served five years on the board. She is an art teacher at Hamburg High School.
* Shannon Locking, 37, the mother of three children in district schools, was motivated to run for the School Board because she wanted to "get off the sidelines and get involved."
* Misty Decker-Fallon, 28, is a teacher's aide working with special education children for the Erie II Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES organization.
* David Gier, an incumbent, works at Gernatt asphalt and gravel in Collins. He declined to provide his age, and did not wish to answer a reporter's questions about the race.

Orchard Park

* Candidates: (Elect 3) David Nielsen 2,296, (i), Thomas E. Prince Jr. 1,799, Rachel Baksa 1,195, (i), Sean Wittmann 2,342.
* Total budget: $82.01 million, up 2.65 percent. Passed.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $30.23 per $1,000 for Orchard Park, up 4.73 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $51.19 million, up 5.48 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,753.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 62.4 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 26.5 percent.
* Proposition 2: Spend $11.5 million to purchase and renovate property for bus garage and district offices with no increase in tax rate. Passed.
* Proposition 3: To spend up to $670,000 to purchase four buses and four vans. Passed.
The budget proposal eliminates 37 positions, including 29 teaching positions, while raising spending less than 3 percent and increasing the tax levy 5.48 percent.
Residents also will vote on the purchase and renovation of property at Southwestern Boulevard and Angle Road for a new transportation facility and district office. The project is expected to cost $11.5 million but would have no effect on next year's tax rate.
A third proposition would spend up to $670,000 for four buses and four 30-person vehicles.
Voters also will elect three people to the seven-member School Board. The candidates for the three-year terms are:
* Rachel Baksa, 29, a stay-at-home mother who was an emergency medical technician, is seeking election to her second term.
* David Nielsen, 42, is running for a second term. He is director of information technology and internal operations for Catholic Medical Partners.
* Thomas Prince Jr., 40, is a medical device salesman for Covidien.
* Sean Wittmann, 35, a former teacher, is director of teacher education and development for Pearson Education.

To view profiles submitted by the candidates, click here.

Springville-Griffith

* Candidates: (Elect 2) Delia G. Bonenberger, 63, and Stephen Schunk, 47.
* Total budget: $36.16 million, up 4.33 percent. Passed.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $35.45 per $1,000 for Concord, $36.22 per $1,000 for Colden, up 3 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $14.42 million, up 3 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,666.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 40 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 45 percent.
* Proposition 2: Spend up to $648,000 to buy six new buses. Passed.
The proposed budget of $36.16 million eliminates 22 positions, including more than 18 teaching positions.
The district is caught between increasing costs and dwindling revenues, which must be made up through the use of fund balance and reserve funds, according to school officials. Taxes are expected to increase 3 percent.
Delia Bonenberger and Stephen Schunk are unopposed for School Board seats.

Sweet Home

* Candidates: (Elect 1): Joe Miranda 836 (i).
* Total budget: $67.33 million, up 2.86 percent. Passed.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $13.97 in Amherst / $13.92 in Tonawanda.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $36.34 million.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,397.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 54 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 29.6 percent.
* Proposition 2: Purchase four 65-passenger buses for a total of $442,000. Passed.
Voters will consider a $67.33 million budget that would increase spending by $1.87 million over the current budget.
Voters also will elect one member to the seven-member School Board. Joe Miranda, who is seeking a third term, is unopposed.

Tonawanda

* Candidates (Elect 2): Danielle Opalinski (i) 521, Diane Misner 535, Elizabeth Olka 281 and Robert E. Starr II 555.
* Total budget: $30 million, up 0.18 percent. Passed.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $17.06, same as last year.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $10.7 million, same as last year.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,706.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 35.6 percent.
* Percentage of budget from state aid: 52 percent.
* Proposition 2: Approve the final sale of 202 Broad St. building to William Watson, Jr., for $52,000.
* Proposition 3: Approve the final sale of Highland Elementary School to S. Spoth, LLC, for $152,000.
* Proposition 4: Approve the final sale of four vacant lots on Hillcrest Road to William Watson, Jr., for $19,000.
Voters will decide whether to approve a $30 million budget plan, which increases spending by $53,640 over the current budget.
Voters will also be asked to vote on three other propositions that involve the final sale of unused district properties that were sold at an auction in February. Highland Elementary School sold for $152,000, the former district administration building sold for $52,000 and some vacant lots on Hillcrest Road sold for $19,000, and the district needs voter approval before those sales can be closed.
Voters will also elect two people to the seven-member School Board for a three year term. Incumbent Danielle Opalinski, 37, is a stay-at-home mom and a newcomer to the board, as she was appointed to fill a vacancy two months ago.
When Opalinski was appointed, she replaced Elizabeth Olka, a 33-year-old unemployed certified teacher who was forced to resign in Feburary after pleading guilty to a harassment charge, but Olka is back on the ballot for another term.
Also running are newcomers Diane Misner, a 53-year-old registered nurse, and Robert E. Starr II. In addition to Opalinski's open seat, candidates will also seek the seat of board member Joyce Hogenkamp, who is not running for re-election.

To view profiles submitted by the candidates, click here.

West Seneca

* Candidates (Elect 3): Janice E. Dalbo (i) 1,633, Robbin D. List (i) 1,620, Rodney Montgomery 1,367, Brendon Najm 1,357.
* Total budget: $106 million, no increase. Passed.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $36.61 for West Seneca; $26.57 for Cheektowaga; $28.41 for Orchard Park; $27.01 for Hamburg; up 2.79 percent for all communities.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $50.89 million, up 4.7 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,648.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 48 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 37 percent.
* Proposition 2: Authorize the district to spend $642,000 from its Bus Purchase Reserve Fund to buy three 65-passenger school buses, six 22-passenger school buses and one 12-passenger lift bus. The purchases will not impact the tax levy for the 2011-2012 school year. Passed.
* Proposition 3: Authorize the district to extend the terms of its Bus Purchase Reserve Fund for an additional 10 years and to increase the total amount of the fund from $5 million to $10 million. Passed.
* Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in East Senior High School gymnasium, 4760 Seneca St., West Seneca.
Voters will consider a $106 million proposed budget that would increase taxes by 2.79 percent but would not increase spending over the current budget.
District Treasurer Brian L. Schulz said the proposed budget maintains programs without layoffs. It would use 42 percent of the district's estimated $16.8 million fund balance to help offset a reduction in state aide, Schulz said.
Voters also will elect three to School Board.
The candidates are:
* Janice Dalbo, 71, an incumbent, is running for her eighth term. She is a retired educator and was first elected to the School Board in 1988.
* Robbin List, 63, an incumbent, was appointed in July to a vacant seat. List previously served two terms on the board. He is a retired principal and elementary school teacher.
* Rodney Montgomery, 47, is running for his first term. He is vice president of Paralegal Services of Buffalo.
* Brendon Najm, 18, is running for his first term. A 2010 graduate of West Seneca East, Najm is a freshman at Canisius College.

Williamsville

* Candidates: (Elect 3) Patricia Losito 2,380, Stephen Munschauer (i) 2,255, Michael Schmidt 2,327, Ronald Shubert (i) 2,297 and James Waack 2,288.
* Total budget: $161.81 million, up 1.58 percent. Passed.
* Property tax rate per $1,000 assessed value: $17.86 for Amherst and Clarence, up 1.85 percent; $28.81 for Cheektowaga, up 1.85 percent.
* Total amount to be raised through property taxes: $103.55 million, up 2.75 percent.
* Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,786.
* Percentage of budget from property taxes: 64 percent.
* Percent of budget from state aid: 20.5 percent.
* Proposition 2: Extend the existing transportation capital reserve fund for another 14 years to allow for future funding of up to $10 million toward bus purchases. Passed.
* Proposition 3: Lease or purchase up to 10 school buses for up to $1.06 million. Passed.
Voters will be asked to vote on a $161.8 million budget that will raise spending by $2.5 million. The budget would result in cuts to fifth-grade foreign language and reductions to home and careers classes and art classes in middle school.
Because of spending cuts and the use of $10 million in district reserves, taxpayers would see a tax levy increase limited to 2.75 percent.
Voters also will elect three of five candidates to the nine-member School Board. Two of the five at-large candidates are incumbents. The third seat up for election is held by Francina Spoth, who will not seek another three-year term.
The candidates are:
* Patricia Losito, 48, is a newcomer with four children in the school district. She is a professor and director of the nursing program at Erie Community College.
* Stephen Munschauer, 59, has served on the board since 2003. He is chief operating officer for Border River Management, a school building consulting firm and is chairman of the board's Audit Committee.
* Michael Schmidt, 36, is a newcomer seeking major changes to the budget process. He's a risk management analyst for HSBC with children ages 2 and 4.
* Ronald Shubert, 59, has been on the board since 2000 and is seeking re-election to a fifth term. He's a former board president and is a lawyer with the Phillips Lytle firm.
* James Waack, 46, is a newcomer who teaches elementary school in the Orchard Park district. He's certified in school administration and has children in sixth and ninth grades.

To view profiles submitted by the candidates, click here.

Gowanda School Board candidate

Six candidates are seeking three seats in Gowanda. They are: Mark Nephew (i), Sheri Wing (i), Lynn Hammond (i), Joseph DeCarlo, Joseph Vogtli, Jr., and Peter Delpriore.

Here is a profile provided by one candidate:

1. JOSEPH VOGTLI JR.

Retired Air Force Officer and New York State Deputy Director for Veterans Affairs.

Running for the Gowanda School Board over concern of increasing budgets, higher taxes and less state aid, representing the need to streamline district education and operations.

We are facing declining student population, older taxpayer population and need to address overbearing state mandates.

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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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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