Voters in every Western New York community outside of Buffalo will head to the voting booth next Tuesday (May 21) to consider school budgets, school board candidates and propositions.
The following capsules include the financial information voters can use to see how their money would be spent. All figures related to tax rates and tax bills are estimates, either provided by school officials, or calculated based on information they provided. The taxes on a $100,000 (market value) home do not include the STAR rebate.
Jason McCarthy, 38, has worked as a restaurant and bar manager for nearly 10 years and is employed by Hutch’s restaurant. He also worked as a mortgage loan officer with HSBC from 2001 to 2005. He’s a product of Catholic schools and graduated from the University at Buffalo in 2000. He says he deserves to be re-elected to the board because he’s proven himself.
Sampson, 65, is president and CEO of Gateway-Longview, an area provider of child services. He has also been a trustee and founding member of West Buffalo Charter School since 2009. He graduated from the University at Buffalo and earned his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. His grown children attended Wisconsin public schools. He is chairman of the bipartisan Buffalo control board and served on the transition teams of both former Republican County Executive Chris Collins and current Democratic County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Sampson emphasizes his problem-solving skills.
Mary Ruth Kapsiak, 71, who has served two terms on the board, spent 26 years as a commercial representative for NYNEX Corp. before entering the workforce in education. She was a substitute teacher for six years, beginning in 1990. Later, she worked for two years each as a special-education and reading teacher before becoming an assistant principal and later supervisor of elementary education. Kapsiak earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from the University at Buffalo, a master’s degree in exceptional education from SUNY Buffalo State and a certificate in reading and school district administration from Canisius College. She says the district is headed in the right direction.
Harris-Tigg is an assistant professor of English education at SUNY Buffalo State. The 58-year-old educator is a product of the Buffalo Public Schools and a graduate of Bennett High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from D’Youville College, a master’s degree in education from Canisius College and a doctorate in education from the University at Buffalo. She has three children. Harris-Tigg thinks greater focus needs to be placed on the classroom.
Belton-Cottman, 57, attended Buffalo Public Schools, graduating from East High School. She attended Canisius College and earned a bachelor’s degree from Medaille College. She works as a home mortgage consultant with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. She has two grown children. She wants the Buffalo school district to increase its graduation rate by changing the district’s approach to student discipline.
Carl P. Paladino, 66, is a developer and former gubernatorial candidate. The South Buffalo resident is chairman of Ellicott Development and has built or developed three local charter schools. He attended a public elementary school, then Bishop Timon High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University and a law degree from Syracuse University. He has four children. Paladino would like to see a new superintendent run the district.
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.
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.
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.
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.