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Complete results from school elections in Erie, Niagara counties

Erie County districts:
Akron | Alden | Amherst | Cheektowaga | Cheektowaga-Sloan | Clarence | Cleveland Hill | Depew | East Aurora | Eden | Frontier | Grand Island | Hamburg | Holland | Iroquois | Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda | Lackawanna | Lake Shore | Lancaster | Maryvale | North Collins | Orchard Park | Springville-Griffith | Sweet Home | City of Tonawanda | West Seneca | Williamsville

Niagara County districts:
Barker | Lewiston-Porter | Lockport | Newfane | Niagara Falls | Niagara Wheatfield | North Tonawanda | Royalton-Hartland | Starpoint | Wilson

ERIE COUNTY

AKRON

  • Candidate vote totals (3 winners):
    • Mark Bramley (i)
  • Total budget: $29.14 million, up 2.93 percent. Pass, 420; fail, 218.

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 5.21 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $9.32 million, up 3.75 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: Newstead projection is $15.93, up 3.1 percent. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,593.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 32 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 48 percent.
  • Web link: akronschools.org.

Voters considered a $29.1 million budget that increased spending by nearly 3 percent from the previous budget. Superintendent Kevin Shanley said the board has faced difficult decisions in recent budget seasons, but has taken a balanced approach using administrative and supervisory staff reductions, cuts in support staff, and faculty cuts. Shanley said negotiated concessions with the district’s employee associations have helped limit the amount of cuts and have helped bring forward a budget that is below the property levy tax cap.

Four candidates were running for three seats on the board; each with a three-year term:

  • Mark Bramley, 53, an incumbent, was seeking a second term.
  • Shannon Cinotti.
  • Phillip Kenline, 56, an incumbent who retired from the Navy and is a substitute teacher and Home Depot employee. He was seeking a second term.
  • David Penn, 42, an incumbent who is a mathematics teacher at Lancaster Middle School. He was seeking a second term.

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ALDEN

  • Candidate vote totals (1 winner):
    • James Yoerg (i) 839
  • Total budget: $33.23 million, up 3.56 percent. Fail 743; Pass 495
  • Proposition 2: Voters were asked to approve the purchase of four 66-passenger buses at a maximum cost of $460,000. The money would come from a reserve fund and would not impact the 2013-14 budget. Pass 644; Fail 594
  • Proposition 3: Voters were asked to authorize the purchase of a one-ton pickup truck with plow package, a used 14-foot box truck and a snow blower attachment for a lawn machine for the Building and Grounds Department at a maximum cost of $63,000. The money would come from a reserve fund and would not impact the 2013-14 budget. Pass 640; Fail 596

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.68 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $14.55 million, up 3 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $37.74 in Alden, up 2.22 percent; $19.25 in Lancaster, up 2.23 percent; $41.84 in Marilla, up 2.30 percent; $19.25 in Newstead, up 2.23 percent; $21.78 in Darien, up 1.92 percent; and $44.01 in Bennington, up 1.88 percent.
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,925 
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 43.8 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 39.9 percent.
  • Web link: aldenschools.org.

Voters considered a $33.2 million budget that increased spending by $1.1 million over the previous budget. The rise in spending was driven by a $655,434 increase in spending for benefits and a $361,140 increase in salary obligations.

Incumbent James Yoerg was running unopposed for a five-year term.

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AMHERST

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
  • Total budget: $49.47 million, up 3.7 percent. Pass 735; Fail 156
  • Proposition B: Authorization to transfer $400,000 from the district’s unrestricted fund balance to the district’s Repair Reserve Fund, as established by the board in July.

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.34 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $32.55 million, up 3.7 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $21.79, up 3.7 percent 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,179.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 66 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 21 percent.
  • Web link: amherstschools.org.

Voters considered a $49.47 million budget that increased spending by $1.77 million over the previous budget. The rise in spending was driven by rising personnel costs and a decrease in state aid. District officials were attempting to close a $1.7 million budget gap.

Two candidates were running for two three-year terms on the board. They were:

  • Dominic Vivolo, 47, a financial advisor and bank vice president who is vice chairman of the Amherst Youth Board.
  • William Shaflucas, 40, who operates a wedding disc jockey service in Buffalo and Rochester.

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CHEEKTOWAGA

  • Candidate vote totals (1 winner):
  • Total budget: $39.9 million, up 2.09 percent. Pass 334; Fail 212
  • Proposition 2: Voters were asked to approve the establishment of a seat for a non-voting student member of the Board of Education. Pass 442; Fail 94

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 3.58 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $22.43 million, up 2.93 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $28.44, up 2.97 percent. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,763.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 56.2 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 30 percent.
  • Web link: cheektowagacentral.org.

Voters considered a $39.9 million budget that increased spending by $817,039 over the previous budget. The rise in spending was driven by a $4.4 million increase in employee benefits and an increase of $3.1 million for retirement costs.

Two candidates, Heather DuBard and Dennis S. Kusak Jr., were running for one five-year term on the board.

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CHEEKTOWAGA-SLOAN

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
    • Claire Ferrucci (i), ran unopposed
    • Sean Kaczmarek 814
    • Richard Piontek (i) 167
  • Total budget: $33.4 million, up 1.06 percent. Pass 712; Fail 398
  • Proposition 2: Elimination of all mileage boundaries for transportation to schools. Yes 605; No 497
  • Proposition 3: Reform Board of Education election policy to reward candidates with highest total votes. Yes 724; No 360
  • Proposition 4: Allow a student position on the Board of Education with non-voting, non-compensation status. Yes 799; no 284

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.1 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $14.8 million, a slight decrease. 
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $52.87 in Cheektowaga, a 21-cent decrease; $72.87 in West Seneca, a 29-cent decrease.
  • Taxes on a $100,000 home (market value): $3,278
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 44.5 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 35.1 percent.
  • Web link: sloanschools.org.

The Cheektowaga-Sloan School District was offering a slight tax decrease for its proposed $33.4 million budget, which raised spending by 1.06 percent. The budget plan included an increase in transportation for regular and handicapped students, benefits and instructional equipment and supplies.

Voters also decided three propositions: one that would offer all district students transportation to schools; reforming the Board of Education process to reward the top vote getters seats on the board, instead of battling for individual seats; and allowing a student representative on the board that would not have voting power.

As for the Board of Education election, current vice president Claire Ferrucci was running unopposed for another five-year term, while incumbent Richard Piontek faced one challenger for his seat, Sean Kaczmarek, a 2012 co-valedictorian of John F. Kennedy High School and current University at Buffalo student.

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CLARENCE

A proposal to increase tax revenue by 9.8 percent galvanized residents in Clarence where long lines in the high school gym stretched nearly to the door. We talked to some voters at the polls about the campaign:

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 3.8 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $43.6 million, up 9.8 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: $15.52, up 8.8 percent. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,552.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 60 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 29 percent.
  • Web link: clarenceschools.org.

Voters considered a $73.3 million budget that increased spending by $800,000 over the previous budget. The district was attempting to cover a budget gap with a combination of staff and spending cuts, as well as an increase in the property tax levy. Superintendent Geoffrey Hicks has said the budget being put before voters attempts to keep costs in check without cutting so deeply as to undermine the district’s educational programs. The budget will need at least 60 percent voter support to pass because it would exceed the property tax levy cap.

Seven candidates were running for two three-year terms on the board. (Two incumbents, Elaine Deiderich and Jean Ranney, were not seeking re-election.) The candidates were:

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CLEVELAND HILL

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
    • Paul Kunkel (i), 244.
    • Robert Polino (i), 254
  • Total budget: $30.1 million, up 1.36 percent. Pass 209; Fail 114

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.76 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $12.18 million, up 3.49 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $45.83.
  • Taxes on a $100,000 home (market value): $2,841.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 40.4 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 40.8 percent.
  • Web link: clevehill.wnyric.org.

With a $30.1 million budget plan that raised spending 1.36 percent and increased the tax rate by 3.49 percent, the Cleveland Hill Union Free School District wanted to maintain the current educational programs it offers for students.

Two board members were seeking re-election in uncontested races, as Robert Polino and Paul Kunkel were both seeking additional three-year terms.

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DEPEW

  • Candidate vote totals (3 winners):
  • Total budget: $38.5 million, up 2.85 percent. Pass 593; Fail 340
  • Proposition 2: Voters were asked to approve the use of $460,851 from a reserve fund to purchase two large school buses, four 28-seat vans and a plow truck for the Buildings and Grounds Department. The money would be taken from a reserve fund that was established in 2009 and would not affect the 2013-14 budget. Yes 689; No 243.

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.31 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $16.6 million, up 2.97 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $34.31 in Cheektowaga, up 2.97 percent, and $21.27 in Lancaster, up 2.97 percent. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,127. 
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 42.57 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 40.93 percent.
  • Web link: depewschools.org.

Voters considered a $38.9 million budget that increased spending by $1.1 million over the previous budget. The rise in spending was driven by a $544,208 increase in pension payments and a $579,905 increase in health insurance costs.

Five candidates were running for three seats on the board, and the top vote-getters each won a three-year term. The candidates were:

  • Board President John Spencer, a 35-year Depew resident, seven-year member of the Board of Education and firefighter who also is president of the Aetna Hose Co.
  • Incumbent trustee Nancy Fumerelle, 49, a resident of Depew for 42 years whose career includes planning, implementing and teaching preschoolers.
  • Patrick Law, 42, a labor relations officer with the Department of Homeland Security who also is president of Southline Little League/Southline Athletic Association. 
  • Gabrielle Miller, 48, a political newcomer who has volunteered with Depew schools for 20 years and attended board meetings for 15 years as a taxpayer and parent.
  • Nicole Simon, 36, a political newcomer who has lived in Depew all her life and who is the senior project contract administrator for a local construction company.

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EAST AURORA

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
    • Judith A. Malys 674
    • Clark Martens 402
    • Terri Ohlweiler 820
  • Total budget: $29.89 million, up by 2.7 percent. Pass 782; Fail 306

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 3.37 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $17.99 million, up by 3.37 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: $37.10 for Aurora; $33.08 for Colden; $313.66 for Elma (not on full valuation). All tax rates reflect a 3.37 percent increase.
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,521.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 60.2 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 25.3 percent.
  • Web link: eastauroraschools.org.

The district’s $29.89 million budget plan ended up achieving the School Board’s ultimate goal of preserving programs and avoiding cutting any teacher positions, given painful cuts that were made last year. The budget raised spending by 2.7 percent and factored in the maximum allowable tax cap of 3.37 percent. After weeks of haggling about proposed cuts – recommended after some board members asked the administration to pare more - the board and administrators ended up increasing revenues estimates by $23,000 for sales tax and from unspecified miscellaneous sources, as well as trimming about $39,000 from the central administration and buildings and grounds lines, to help restore controversial items that had been on the chopping block.

The district also increased its appropriated reserves by $225,000 to help balance the budget. In the end, the seven-member board, which had been divided on the budget, unanimously supported it when it was adopted. Earlier cuts of boys and girls modified sports, specifically soccer and basketball, have been reinstated in the budget, allowing for modified sports to be restored. A middle school teacher position that had been a likely cut, also was reinstated.

What was cut were two part-time clerical positions, one in central administration and another at Parkdale Elementary School; as well as two teacher aides, one at the high school and the other at the middle school. “We’re keeping the same programming, plus adding a few electives at the high school,” said Paul Blowers, district business manager. Class sizes remained unchanged.

Three candidates were running for two, three-year terms on the board. They were:

  • Judith A. Malys, 64, a retired East Aurora school teacher, who had previously run twice for the board. 
  • Clark Martens, 49, an engineer, who ran for the board 11 years ago.
  • Terri Ohlweiler, 45, a stay-at-home mother of three children and treasurer of the Parkdale School Parent Teacher Organization.

Board incumbents Kathyann Lorka, currently the vice president; and Eric Sweet were not seeking re-election.

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EDEN

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
  • Total budget: $25.72 million, up 2.1 percent. Pass 738; Fail 437
  • Proposition 2: Voters were asked to spend up to $32,000 from the district’s repair reserve fund to purchase and install a new catalytic converter for the district’s co-generation plant, which is required by Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The purchase will have no impact on the 2013-14 tax levy. Yes 933; No 221

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2.9 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $13.05 million, up 1.99 percent
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $19.33 in Boston, up 1.7 percent; $41.60 in Concord, up 2.9 percent; $28.99 in Eden, up 2.2 percent; $19.14 in Evans, up .67 percent; $19.14 in North Collins, up .67 percent. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,914.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 50.7 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 38.8 percent.
  • Web link: edencsd.org.

Voters considered a $25.7 million budget that, among other changes, would cut about eight teaching positions as the district changes from block scheduling to a more traditional schedule at the junior-senior high school. Superintendent Sandra Anzalone said the changes would be made without affecting programs. District leaders, who had previously considered a different set of budget cuts, were able to retain an assistant principal at the  junior-senior high school, but reduced the position to 10 months. Anzalone said several factors, including a lower insurance rate and the retirement of an elementary school principal, contributed to the decision to retain the position.

The budget also ended 5 p.m. bus runs, reduced spending on materials and supplies by 10 percent and reduced spending on non-mandated music, arts and athletic programs by 5 percent. Anzalone said 13 courses that have 10 or fewer students would be cut next year. That will not affect small upper level classes that are at the end of a sequence of courses.

Four candidates were running for two three-year terms on the board. They were:

  • Kristen D. Pinker, 45, is an international marketing manager who was seeking her second term on the school board. She was previously the board’s vice president.
  • Patricia M. Krouse, 44, is a consultant for NutraMetrix who was running for her first term on the board. 
  • Steven P. Cerne, 48, is a management consultant. He served on the school board for five years and was previously its president. 
  • Paul R. Shephard, 49, is an emergency medical service instructor who spent eight years in the Air Force. He was running for his first term on the board.

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FRONTIER

  • Candidates: There was no board race this year, since voters last year approved a referendum downsizing the board from nine to seven members. As of July 1, board seats held by veteran board member Nancy Wood, who has served for 30 years; and Jeremey Rosen, who has served for five years, will be eliminated.
  • Total budget: $73.21 million, up by 1.28 percent. 975 passed, 558 failed.
  • Proposition 2: Asked voters for approval to purchase $863,739 for a total of eight buses to help supplement a bus fleet that has some buses with high mileage that need to be retired. The purchase would include five, 66-passenger buses; two 30- to 35-passenger buses and one 35-passenger bus with wheelchair accessibility. 935 passed, 595 failed.

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 3.51 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $34.96 million, up by 3.5 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: $25.20 in Hamburg, up by 3.08 percent; $22.90 in Eden, up by 3.08 percent. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,534.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 47.8 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 38.3 percent.
  • Web link: frontier.wnyric.org.

Voters considered approving a $73.2 million budget, which called for the elimination of 24.8 full-time equivalent teachers and support staff for the next school year. The budget increased spending by 1.28 percent and used the maximum tax levy cap of 3.51 percent. The staff cuts would have been more severe, had the School Board last month not decided to apply an additional $500,000 of reserve money to the budget, hoping to restore some positions.

The district originally faced a $3.2 million budget gap in February, but was able to close the gap through revenue adjustments, additional state aid and staff trims. The district also refinanced bonds at lower interest rates in order to lower debt payments.

The district faced the tough choice of whether to dip into its piggybank again to lessen the impact of budget woes, and chose to do so. The administration has said it does not yet know what programs or staff could by restored by cushioning the budget with an additional $500,000 of reserve money.

“We’re just giving ourselves a little leverage to decide what we can restore,” said Board President Janet MacGregor Plarr. “If you think this year is tough, we have another few tough years ahead of us. Those retirement system rates are continuing to climb and we have no control over it. We are very nervous in adding this money. This is not a promise to restore all these positions. We will restore what needs to be restored.”

The administration also expects to freeze expenditures this year, as it has had to do in the past. “We will have to do a hard freeze on expenditures this year,” Plarr said. “Every nickel we can save, we have to.”

There was no board race this year.

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GRAND ISLAND

  • Candidate vote totals (3 winners):
  • Total budget: $54.4 million, up 2.52 percent. Pass 741; Fail 463
  • Proposition 2: Voters were asked to consider the purchase of school buses and other vehicles for an amount not to exceed $709,860. The Board of Education would determine the tax levied and the finance terms at a later date if the proposition was approved. Pass 720; Fail 477

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2.67 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $30 million, up 2.67 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $19.10. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,910 (Grand Island is in the process of shifting assessments to 100 percent valuation.)
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 56 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 29 percent.
  • Web link: k12.ginet.org.

Voters considered a $54.4 million budget that increased spending by $1.3 million over the previous budget. The rise in spending was driven by an $886,033 increase in salary obligations and an increase of $764,250 for pension costs.

Three candidates were running for three seats on the board. The top two vote-getters received three-year terms, and the third-place finisher was appointed immediately to fill out the last two years of the seat left vacant when Board President David Goris resigned in January. The candidates were:

  • Incumbent Donna Tomkins, 54, a travel manager and 31-year Grand Island resident who was seeking her second board term.
  • Lisa Pyc, 40, a political newcomer and a state-licensed mental health counselor who has lived in Grand Island for more than a decade. 
  • Acting President Paul Krull, 48, a foreman at the Niagara Falls Housing Authority.

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HAMBURG

  • Candidate vote totals (3 winners):
  • Total budget: $60.25 million, up 6.45 percent. Pass 1,820; Fail 1,421

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 5.4 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $33.51 million, up 5.4 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $33.62 in Hamburg, up 5 percent; $20.48 for Boston, up 5.14 percent. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,048
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 55.6 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 34 percent.
  • Web link: hamburgschools.org.

The proposed budget continued current programming in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities for the 2013-14 school year, unlike the past three years where there were major staff and program reductions.

Two board members, Diane R. Reynolds and Matthew Dils, were not seeking re-election. There were seven candidates running for three School Board seats. They were:

  • Joan Calkins, 59, the incumbent board president who is a pediatrician.
  • John R. Callahan, 43, a financial analyst.
  • Catherine Schrauth Forcucci, 50, a U.S. Postal Service letter carrier.
  • Laura Heeter, 43, a homemaker and former special education teacher.
  • Gary R. Klumpp, 56, a baseball instructor and clinic director at New Era School of Baseball.
  • Sheila Ruhland, 50, an Erie County Probation Department supervisor.
  • David Yoviene, 55, part-owner of Sellmore Industries Inc., a wholesale building products distributor.

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HOLLAND

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
  • Total budget: $18 million, up 5.5 percent. Pass 625; Fail 365
  • Proposition 2: Purchase of one 66-passenger bus, one 34-passenger van, and one 10- passenger van for a total cost of $198,000. Pass 641; Fail 343
  • Proposition 3: Authorize transfer of up to $150,000 from the unrestricted fund balance to the district’s Repair Reserve Fund. Pass 662; Fail 319

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.5 percent
  • Tax levy: $6.9 million, up 4.5 percent 
  • Property tax rates per $1,000 assessed value: $14.52, up 4.3 percent in Holland.
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (estimate): $1,457
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 37 percent
  • Percent of budget from state aid: 49 percent
  • Web link: holland.wnyric.org.

Residents in the Holland Central School District voted on an $18 million spending plan that increased the tax levy by the 4.5 percent allowed under the tax cap formula. Though the budget was a million dollars higher than last year, it called for the elimination of varsity girls swimming, cheerleading and modified wrestling as well as several teaching positions. A transportation proposal also appeared on the ballot, as well as another proposition to add funds to the district’s repair reserve.

For the first time voters elected board members at-large instead of by seat as was done in the past. There were three candidates vying for two seats, which carried a five-year term:

  • Jenelle Broom Nadler, a Holland Central alumni, works in the health care field, is a mother of two, a former PTO president and recipient of Holland’s “triple H” award.
  • Brian Jones has lived in Holland for 14 years and is involved in the Holland Raiders, wrestling club, and the Boys and Girls Club. The father of five works at a specialty cement and adhesive manufacturer. 
  • Paul Rowe, father of three, moved to Holland in 2002 and is employed in the computer technology field. He is a former president of the Holland Raiders and a NYS certified snowmobile safety instructor.

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IROQUOIS

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
    • Sharon Szeglowski, 1,212
    • Daniel T. Behlmaier, 1,152
  • Total budget: $44.1 million, up 1.39 percent. Pass 1,198; Fail 624
  • Proposition 2: Purchase three (62-passenger) buses and two vans at a maximum cost of $400,000. Yes 1,188; No 623
  • Proposition 3: Expend $60,000 from the district’s Capital Reserve Fund known as the "Technology Reserve Fund."  Yes 1,314; No 493

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2.24 percent
  • Tax levy: $26.1 million, up 2.24 percent
  • Property tax rates per $1,000 assessed value: $340.76 for Elma, up 2.2 percent; $35.92 for Marilla, up 2.2 percent.
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (estimate): $1,653
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 59.2 percent
  • Percent of budget from state aid: 27.4 percent
  • Web link: iroquoiscsd.org.

Residents in the Iroquois Central School District decided on a $44.1 million budget that carried a tax levy increase of 2.24 percent -- the lowest in 15 years. The spending plan maintained current academic programs and class sizes as well as all extra-curricular programs offered in 2012-13.

Two candidates were running unopposed for two seats on the board. They were:

  • Sharon Szeglowski, a former teacher for 21 years, has a master degree in Social Studies Education, two children, and is active with the Iroquois Ambassador Group.
  • Daniel T. Behlmaier, whose two daughters attend Iroquois schools, works for Cintas where he has held positions in sales and branch management and been a director for 15 years. He also worked at the Stanley G. Falk School.

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KENMORE-TOWN OF TONAWANDA

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
  • Total budget: $149 million, up .84 percent. Pass 2,194; Fail 1,047
  • Proposition 2: Purchase up to two diesel 65-passenger school buses; four gasoline 30-passenger school buses; and one gasoline wheelchair bus, at a total cost not to exceed $525,046. Pass 1,971; Fail 1,252

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 5.66 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $75.2 million, up 4.66 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: $45.20. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,124.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 50.5 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 32.06 percent.
  • Web link: kenton.k12.ny.us.

Voters considered a $149 million budget that increased spending by $1.23 million over the previous budget. The proposed budget was the first, in four years, that did not directly reduce student programming or increase class sizes. This year’s voting featured the return to a single polling place – down from three.

Four candidates were running for two, three-year terms on the board. They were:

  • Incumbent Bob Dana, 67, a retired business teacher for the Williamsville Central School District, is seeking a second term, having served as president throughout his first.
  • Richard Harned, 67, taught social studies for more than 30 years at the district’s two high schools, as well as Hoover Middle School.
  • Stephen Hart, 31, a former employee of Ken-Ton’s Building and Grounds Department, is a teaching assistant at Amherst Middle School and also serves as a coach.
  • Todd Potter, 22, is a 2009 graduate of Kenmore East High School; 2012 graduate of D’Youville College – earning a bachelor’s degree in history; and is a student at the University at Buffalo’s Law School.

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LACKAWANNA

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 5.3 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $8.59 million, no change.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: Homestead rate of $12.43 per $1,000; Non-homestead rate of $32.02 per $1,000. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,255.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 18.1 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 61.9 percent.
  • Web link: lackawannaschools.org.

Voters considered a $47.5 million budget that increased spending by $2.2 million over the previous budget. The proposed spending plan, adopted April 22 by the Lackawanna Board of Education, would eliminate the equivalent of 11 of the district’s 154 teaching positions. The rise in spending was driven primarily by increased pension and health care costs, and will be paid for through increased state aid and surplus spending.

Four candidates were running for two three-year terms on the board. They were:

  • Jennifer R. Grzybowski, a 2000 graduate of Lackawanna High School, who received a bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo and worked in the insurance industry before becoming a stay-at-home mother to three children. She is currently president of the Truman School parent-teacher association.
  • Board President Ronald S. Miller, a retired Lackawanna police officer, was the only incumbent candidate.
  • Nicholas Sobaszek, a 2004 graduate of Lackawanna High School, is a student at SUNY Buffalo State and works as a sales manager for Unicorn.
  • Richard P. Zybert, a retired Lackawanna police officer, ran the D.A.R.E. program in Lackawanna schools for many years

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LAKE SHORE

  • Candidate vote totals (3 winners):
    • Cynthia Latimore (i) 675
    • William J. Connors Jr. 682
    • Jennifer S. Farrell 680
  • Total budget: $53.28 million, up 1.02 percent. Pass 609; Fail 320
  • Proposition 2: Purchase of three full-size, 71-passenger school buses for a total cost of $340,639. Pass 523; Fail 407

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2.37 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $16.28 million, up 2.34 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $17.13, up 2.3 percent in Evans; $17.31, up 2.3 percent in Brant; $25.58, up 2.3 percent in Eden.
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,713.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 30.5 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 49.7 percent.
  • Web link: lakeshore.wnyric.org.

Voters considered a $53.28 million budget for the 2013-14 school year, an increase in spending of $535,694. The increase was driven largely by growing retirement costs. The budget picture was much gloomier, until recently, when the state restored aid in the amount of $902,023. Still, the board made a series of cuts, including chopping five instructional positions and one noninstructional position, to save the district more than $226,000.

Three candidates were running for three, three-year terms on the board. They were:

  • Cynthia Latimore, 46, an incumbent school board member who graduated from Lake Shore in 1985 and has been employed by Roswell Park Cancer Institute for 20 years.
  • William J. Connors Jr., 40, a software executive and 1990 graduate of Lake Shore, whose family runs Connors Hot Dog Stand.
  • Jennifer S. Farrell, 36, a lifelong Evans resident who is an attorney and partner in the firm of Farrell & Farrell in Hamburg.

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LANCASTER

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
  • Total budget: $94.72 million, up 3.5 percent. Pass 1,774; Fail  1,228
  • Proposition 2: Spending $906,107 from the bus reserve fund to buy eight, 65-passenger replacement buses, with no tax impact.

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 5.99 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $46.21 million, up 3.96 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $16.54, up 3.05 percent in Lancaster; $26.68, up 3.05 percent in Cheektowaga; $341.03, up 3.07 percent in Elma.
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,654.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 48.8 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 29.8 percent.
  • Web link: lancasterschools.org.

Lancaster residents voted on a $94.72 million budget for the Lancaster School District that increased spending by 3.5 percent over the current budget while raising the tax levy by 3.96 percent. District officials said the increase in spending was driven by increased costs for employee health insurance and retirement benefits. The budget plan eliminated three elementary school teaching positions because of declining enrollment, and projects that five employees who are taking an early retirement incentive won’t be replaced.

The property tax rate rises by 3.05 percent and the owner of a home in Lancaster assessed at $100,000 would pay $49 more in school taxes next year. The district also covers a small portion of the towns of Cheektowaga and Elma.

Three candidates were running for two, three-year terms on the board. They were:

  • William J. Gallagher, 36, a math teacher at Frontier Middle School.
  • Board President Kenneth E. Graber, 62, an administrative law judge with the New York State Board of Parole who is completing his third term on the board.
  • Julie Gies Kaska , 44, a stay-at-home mother and active volunteer in the district, where she serves as a parent representative on the Advisory Council.

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MARYVALE

  • Candidate vote totals (1 winner):
    • Julianne Renczkowski, 400 votes.
  • Total budget: $36.4 million, up 1.46 percent. 315 pass, 169 fail.

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.39 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $19 million, up 2.94 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: Ranging from $30.29 to $30.44, which translates to 2.45 to 2.94 percent.
  • Taxes on a $100,000 home (market value): Between $1,878 and $1,887.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 52.2 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 37 percent.
  • Web link: maryvale.wnyric.org.

Maryvale Schools proposed a $36.4 million budget plan that raised spending 1.46 percent. The proposed budget would raise the tax rate up to 2.94 percent, but the increase may fall to as low as 2.45 percent when the tax rolls are finalized in August. After years of staffing and program cuts, the Board of Education directed district administrators to develop a spending plan that maintained the current status quo.

Only one Board of Education seat is up for grabs in an uncontested election. Newcomer Julianne Renczkowski is running for the seat currently held by Board President Margaret Bourdette, who is not seeking re-election.

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NORTH COLLINS

  • Candidate vote totals (1 winner):
    • Tammy Winter 179
  • Total budget: $14.87 million, up 3.2 percent. Pass 134; Fail 81
  • Proposition 2: To purchase one bus and one vehicle at a cost not to exceed $220,000. Pass 149; Fail 65

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 6.2 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $5.02 million, up 2.92 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $21.05, up 2.9 percent in North Collins.
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,105.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 33.78 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 47.63 percent.
  • Web link: northcollins.com.

North Collins could have raised the tax levy over 6 percent and still stayed within the tax cap, but the School Board wanted to say within the 3 percent increase range, according to Superintendent Benjamin A. Halsey. The board also tried to strike a balance between the use of state aid, taxes and existing district funds.

“Having a balance of the use of three of those provides for more stability,” he said. The budget uses more than $800,000 in fund balance and reserves to keep the tax rate down and protect existing programs. Current programming will remain in place, and the budget reduces a laborer’s position through attrition and a part-time high school science teaching position.

Incumbent Richard Foster is not running for re-election, and Tammy Winter is the only candidate for the seat.

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ORCHARD PARK

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 3.29 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $54.81 million, up 3.28 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: $32.01 in Orchard Park, up 2.39 percent. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,857.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 63.7 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 25 percent.
  • Web link: opschools.org.

Voters weighed in on a budget that would keep class sizes within current School Board guidelines, with a net reduction in staff of 8.25 full-time equivalent positions. That included the net addition of a 0.4 teaching position and a reduction of 8.65 support staff positions. The budget also preserved the gifted and talented program in the elementary and middle schools and increased counselor and social worker support on the elementary level.

Voters also considered buying four buses, three vans and a wheelchair van. The vehicles will be funded through state aid and savings on staff contract concessions.

There were six candidates running for three School Board seats. The two candidates with the highest vote totals were elected to three-year terms. The candidate coming in third fills the remainder of the term of former board President Alfred McClymonds, which will start May 21 and end June 30, 2015. The candidates were:

  • Anthony Agnello, 65, a retired biology teacher, a football, track and wrestling coach at Orchard Park High School.
  • Dwight D. Mateer, 44, a civil engineer.
  • Donna M. Omar (i), 46, a certified fitness specialist and owner of Anytime Fitness.
  • Natalie A. Schaffer (i), 44, an attorney and project manager for construction of a medical facility in Lancaster. 
  • Christopher T. Shively, 47, an assistant professor of elementary education at SUNY Buffalo State.
  • Christine Gray Tinnesz, 40, an instructor for the schools of education at SUNY Buffalo State and Medaille College.

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SPRINGVILLE-GRIFFITH

  • Candidates (1 winner):
  • Total budget: $34.9 million, up 3 percent. Pass 718; Fail 292
  • Proposition 2: The purchase of four 66-passenger buses, two 16-passenger buses, and one 24-passenger bus with wheelchair lift at a maximum aggregate cost of $577,127. Pass 672; Fail 327

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 5.1 percent.
  • Tax levy: $14.7million, up 1 percent.
  • Property tax rates per $1,000 assessed value: $17.20, up 1 percent.
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (estimate): $1,720.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 42 percent.
  • Percent of budget from state aid: 46 percent.
  • Web link: springvillegi.org.

Voters in the Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District decided on a $34.9 million budget, an increase of 3 percent over the previous year. The spending plan maintained class sizes, athletic and extracurricular programs, returned team teaching to the middle school, and allowed for the implementation of a Family Support Center. The 1 percent tax levy increase was below the 5.1 percent tax cap allowed for the district. A transportation proposal also appeared on the ballot.

The terms of three board members are expiring June 30, but due to a voter-approved board reduction from seven seats to five, only one seat is vacant. Competing for the seat, which carries a three-year term, were:

  • William Bursee, a local business owner with 25 employees, who has lived with his wife and two children in Springville for 14 years.
  • Allison Duwe, a graduate of Springville-Griffith Institute, who is former president of the Springville Center for the Arts. She and her husband will send the first of three children to kindergarten this fall.

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SWEET HOME

  • Candidate vote totals (1 winner):
    • Scott M. Johnson (i) 695
  • Total budget: $68.16 million, up 1.24 percent. Pass 591; Fail 260
  • Proposition 2: Purchase four, 65-passenger school buses at a cost of $442,000. Yes 546; No 297

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.45 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $38.68 million, up 3.58 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: $14.99, up 3.52 percent in Amherst; $31.85 in Tonawanda, up 3.51 percent. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,499.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 57.04 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 28.51 percent.
  • Web link: sweethomeschools.com.

Voters considered a $68.16 million budget that increased spending by $833,386 over the current spending plan. The rise in spending was driven by increases in health insurance premiums and retirement system contributions. The latter, by itself, increased by more than $1.5 million and would have raised the tax levy by 4.3 percent.

Scott M. Johnson, the School Board’s current vice president, is running unopposed for a five-year term. Initially appointed to fill a vacancy, this would be his second full term on the board.

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CITY OF TONAWANDA

  • Candidate vote totals (3 winners):
  • Total budget: $29.8 million, up 1.07 percent. Pass 604; Fail 422
  • Proposition 2: Approve the sale of Central School to David Capretto for $220,000. Pass 722; Fail 311

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.5 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $11.2 million, up 3.2 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $17.84, up 3.2 percent
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,784.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 37.6 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 51 percent.
  • Web link: tonawandacsd.org.

After several years of developing budgets that kept the tax rate flat through the use of its reserve fund, the Tonawanda City School District asked voters to approve a $29.8 million budget that raised the tax levy rate by 3.2 percent. The proposed budget made some reductions to the BOCES special education program and eliminated three full-time teaching positions. It also allowed the district to add about $131,000 back into its reserve fund.

The district also asked voters to approve the sale of the Central School building to developer David Capretto for $220,000. The building has not been used for instruction for years, and has been mainly used for equipment and student record storage. Capretto reportedly wants to convert the building into apartment spaces, although the district will still lease storage space from the owner if the sale is approved.

Four candidates were vying for three open seats, all three-year terms, on the Board of Education. Danielle Opalinski, an incumbent who was appointed to the board in February, is running for her first full term. Joining her on the ballot were former board member Elizabeth Olka and newcomers Fred Busch and Geraldine Angelo. The top vote getter will assume Opalinski’s seat immediately. The board’s current leadership –- Jackie Smilinich and Demelt Shaw -– were not seeking re-election.

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WEST SENECA

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.69 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $54.08 million, up 2.92 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: All are up 2.51 percent. $38.99 in West Seneca; $28.30 in Cheektowaga; $28.81 in Hamburg; and $30.25 in Orchard Park. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,755.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 50.6 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 38.2 percent.
  • Web link: wscschools.org.

Voters considered a $106.82 million budget in which spending was down by approximately $1.35 million over the previous budget. While there was a reduction in personnel of more than 100 people, the costs related to dozens of pending retirements was almost $3.27 million.

Eight candidates were running for three seats on the board. The top two vote-getters will serve three- year terms and the person with the third-highest total will serve a year. The candidates were:

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WILLIAMSVILLE

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.34 percent. 
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $110.5 million, up 3.89 percent 
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $18.96 in Amherst and Clarence, up 3.29 percent; $29.60 in Cheektowaga, up 3.29 percent.
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,896.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 65 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 19.78 percent.
  • Web link: williamsvillek12.org.

Voters considered a $170 million budget that increased spending by 3.32 percent over the previous budget, but remained within the district’s tax cap. The budget maintained the previous level of academic and extracurricular programming, district administrators have said, and included money to enhance school security, to restore a full-time middle school social worker and to return two BOCES classes to the district.

It also reallocated technology funding for a universal iPad program for fifth-graders. A $3.1 million increase for pension costs made up more than half of the increased spending in the budget.

Six candidates were running for three three-year terms on the board. They were:

  • Anthony J. Lafornara III, 47, a teacher in the Buffalo City Schools, who has three children attending school in Williamsville.
  • Michael Kane, 24, a local attorney and a 2006 graduate of North High School. 
  • Thomas J. Navarro Jr., 50, a local attorney and a parent in the school district.
  • Carrie Kahn, 59, executive dean of workforce development at Erie Community College and the mother of a South High School graduate. She was previously board president.
  • Peter U. Bergmann, 42, president and CEO of Sisters of Charity Hospital, who has three children attending school in the district. He was appointed to the board in late August.
  • Mohan Devgun, 70, a professor at SUNY College at Buffalo and the father of an East High School graduate. He was first elected to the board in 2010.

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NIAGARA COUNTY

BARKER

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
  • Total budget: $19,018,424, down 2.4 percent. Pass 298; Fail 95
  • Proposition 2: Proposal to convert Barker Free Library into a school district library with a $75,000 budget. Pass 276; Fail 128
  • Proposition 3: Candidates for Library Board (7 winners):
    • Roy Anderson 318
    • James Trinder 306
    • Pamela Atwater 304
    • Terrence Upton 293
    • Henry Charache 288
    • Marilyn Zaciewski 301
    • Seanna Corwin-Bradley 306

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 90 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $3,914,401, up 3.5 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $15.96, up 54 cents
  • Taxes on a $100,000 home: $1,596
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 20.5 percent 
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 34.4 percent
  • Web link: barkercsd.net.

Voters considered a $19 million budget that cut spending nearly $467,000 from its previous level, a 2.4 percent reduction.

“While our expenditures have steadily risen, our revenues have decreased, primarily from our [payment in lieu of taxes] with the Somerset coal plant [now Upstate Power Producers], which will drop $3 million in 2013-14,” said Superintendent Roger Klatt.

To help cut down on costs, Barker and the Royalton-Hartland districts will share a superintendent. Effective July 1, Klatt will oversee both districts.

The district has also taken on other collaborative agreements with Roy-Hart “by sharing our football program and we will share wrestling and some special education programs and a business teacher. We are also eliminating six full-time positions and will not fill vacancies created with retirements,” Klatt said.

Voters chose from a field of three candidates for two school board openings. Candidates were:

  • Incumbent William Smith, 73, retired Barker elementary teacher who had served on Barker School Board for 18 years. Was board president for seven years and previously served as vice president.
  • Mary Jo Clemens-Harris, 44, is an optician. This was her second time running for a seat on the board.
  • John McDonald, 65, retired General Motors toolmaker. Also taught vocational education for BOCES for 10 years. Was his first time running for elected office.

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LEWISTON-PORTER

  • Candidate vote totals (3 winners):
  • Total budget (needs 60 percent approval): $40 million, down 1.16 percent. Fail 1,153; Pass 939
  • Proposition 2: $26 million capital improvement project for interior and exterior reconstruction and renovation work for code and safety measures and upgrades throughout the district, as well as a number of enhancements and upgrades including the pool and locker room and air conditioning for the computer labs. Pass 1,167; Fail 923

R. Christopher Roser, superintendent of Lewiston-Porter schools, discusses the failure of his district's budget to pass at the polls:

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $23.6 million, up 5.52 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: $24.06 in Lewiston, up 5.22, and $20.69 in Porter, up 4.86 percent. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,966. Percentage of budget from property taxes: 59 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 34.8 percent.
  • Web link: lew-port.com.

Despite an overall decrease from budget to budget, the proposed $40 million dollar Lewiston-Porter budget would affect taxpayers with a 5.5 percent tax increase. The increased tax levy exceeded the district’s tax levy threshold and the proposed budget will need a 60 percent majority to pass.

Superintendent R. Christopher Roser said the increase was caused by the loss of state aid from New York State’s gap elimination adjustment, which for each of the past three years took away $2.4 million in state aid from their district.

“This is the fourth year in a row we are trying to operate with significantly less funds than we had four years ago.” He said they have attempted to avoid increases, staying at the same tax level for three years and at the threshold this past year, but he said this past year they were one of eight districts in the state operating with no fund balance.

The proposed budget also cut 23 positions -– nine teachers, nine support staff and five they are not filling. “There is not a stash of money floating around in our budget. We’ve cut lots of positions, but this year we hit the wall. This [budget] will maintain the programming that our community wants for our students,” Roser said.

Three candidates were running for two three-year terms on the board. They were:

  • Board President Jodee L. Riordan, 44, of Youngstown, the mother of four, just completed her first three-year term, serving as president for two of those years. She has been active in a number of community organizations and served as president of the Lewiston-Porter Parent Teachers Association, including her first year as president of the Board of Education, serving for one year as president of both boards. She has lived in the district since 1987 and is a graduate of North Tonawanda High School and has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University at Buffalo. She is employed in sales as a contract administrator at Modern Disposal. 
  • Betty J. VanDenBosch Warrick, 45, of Youngstown was seeking her first term on the board. She has lived in the district for the past 20 years and is the mother of three children. She previously served as treasurer, vice president and president of the Lewiston-Porter Parent Teachers Association. She works as the general manager of U.S. operations for Yorkville Sound and has a strong credit management background.
  • Anna D. Bouley Wright, 32, of Youngstown has lived in the district for the past seven years. She is the mother of two children and was seeking her first term on the board. She has worked in management for 15 years and is currently employed as a general manager for a retail denim store.

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LOCKPORT

  • Candidate vote totals (3 winners):
  • Total budget: $83.06 million, up 3.96 percent. Pass 1,158; Fail 596
  • Proposition 2: A $22.2 million capital project package including improvements to the kitchens of four elementary schools, and added security cameras and upgraded Internet connections and fiber optic cable at all schools. If approved, the district intended to borrow $19.2 million on a 15-year bond at 2 3/8 percent interest. The state would reimburse the district’s costs at 92 cents on the dollar, but the district must spend the money up front. The remaining $3 million would be appropriated from a reserve fund. Pass 1,097; Fail 606

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 5.04 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $35.2 million, up 2 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: about $25.37, up 2 percent.
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,537.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 42.4 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 47.8 percent.
  • Web link: lockportschools.org.

Spending rose $3.1 million, or nearly 4 percent, in the $83 million budget voters considered. The major increases were in state-mandated pension contributions, driving a $3 million increase in employee benefits, according to a district newsletter. The budget also included $1.2 million to pay debt incurred for the 2008 high school renovation project.

On the other hand, retirements and the closure of Washington Hunt Elementary School this June have produced $1.3 million in savings. The board deleted nearly $500,000 it had intended as a contingency fund in case of federal budget cuts, assuming Congress will restore the sequestration of funds for local schools.

Six candidates were running for three three-year terms on the board. They were:

  • Incumbent Diane Phelps, 49, who was seeking her second term. She was elected as a write-in candidate three years ago. She holds a doctorate in English education and has taught education at Niagara University and the University at Buffalo.
  • Incumbent Jon A. Williams, 66, was running for his third term. He has been a professor of public communication and speech at Niagara County Community College for the past 29 years.
  • Randall J. Parker, 52, has been a City of Lockport firefighter since 1986, and has served as president of the Lockport Professional Fire Fighters Association.
  • Marietta G. Schrader, 60, served on the board for 12 years, including four years as president, before stepping down in 2011. She is a retired nurse practitioner.
  • Incumbent Edward P. Sandell, 55, was running for his third term. He is an engineering manager at the Delphi Thermal technical center in Lockport.
  • Todd G. McNall, 35, is a former shop chairman of United Auto Workers Local 686 at Delphi. He now works at the GM Powertrain plant in the Town of Tonawanda and is the son of Niagara County Legislator W. Keith McNall, who was a previous School Board president.

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NEWFANE

  • Candidate vote totals (3 winners):
    • Donna Lakes 666
    • Michele Malone (i) 538
    • James Schmitt 675
    • Margaux Lingle 504
    • Joseph Flagler (i) 520
  • Total budget: $33.69 million, up 2.31 percent. Pass 646; Fail 416

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $12.78 million, up 2 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: Newfane, $28.35; Lockport, $26.08
  • Taxes on a $100,000 home (market value): $2,608.
  • Percentage of budget from taxes: 38 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 52 percent.
  • Web link: newfane.wnyic.org.

Voters were presented with a budget that held the tax increase to a flat 2 percent, the amount usually referred to as the tax levy limit. Instead of seeking a larger increase, the district will cover more than 9 percent of its budget from its reserve savings or about $3.2 million, officials said.

Although the state tax levy limit is frequently believed to be 2 percent, districts are permitted to make adjustments for items such as indebtedness and pension obligation increases. Such adjustments usually allow districts to seek a larger tax hike without needing a super-majority of voters or 60 percent to pass the budget.

Five candidates were running for three spots on the board. They were:

  • Donna Lakes of Charlotteville Road.
  • Incumbent Michele Malone of Corwin Avenue.
  • James Schmitt of Rounds Road.
  • Margaux Lingle of Chrlotteville Road.
  • Incumbent Joseph Flagler of Lockport-Olcott Road, Lockport.

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NIAGARA FALLS

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 3.77 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $25.82 million, up 3 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: $19.21, up 3 percent. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,922.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 21 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 73 percent.
  • Web link: nfschools.net/nfschools.

Voters considered a $124.06 million budget that increased spending by $1.62 million over the previous budget. The budget was the first in 20 years to include a tax levy increase. District officials say the increase was driven by employee pension contributions and other contractual items.

Six candidates were running for two five-year terms on the board. They were:

  • Incumbent Don J. King, 80, a more than 30-year veteran of the school board who is a retired retail business owner.
  • Incumbent Kevin Dobbs, 58, a school board member since 1997 who is a retired supervisor for Occidental Chemical.
  • Ronald J. Barstys, 40, director of student services for the North Tonawanda City School District.
  • Michael S. Gawel, 56, an accountant and real estate broker.
  • Herbert L. Lewis, 41, a former city council candidate and security guard at the Seneca Niagara Casino.
  • Anthony F. Paretto, 46, an electrician for the City of Niagara Falls.

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NIAGARA WHEATFIELD

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
    • Lorna Tilley-Peltier 1,357
    • Lori Pittman (i) 1,876
    • Amy Deull 1,807
  • Total budget: $62.75,000, up 3.69 percent. Fail 1601; Pass 1,598
  • Proposition 2: Whether to allow a representative from the high school senior class to sit on the school board as a member who would not have voting rights or be allowed to attend executive sessions. Students who apply to be a board member would have to meet specific criteria and would be selected by the board. Pass 1,855; Fail 1,107

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under cap: 5.91 percent.
  • Tax levy: $30.35 million, up 5.91 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: Town of Niagara, $29.27 (homestead), $39.35 (nonhomestead); Wheatfield, $24.71 (h), $33.78 (n); Lewiston, $20.86 (h), $28.06 (n); Cambria, $17.11 (h), $17.11 (n).
  • Taxes on a $100,000 home (market value): $1,711.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 49 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 46 percent.
  • Web link: nwcsd.k12.ny.us/nwcsd/site.

Voters decided on a budget that had to address a $1 million deficit by eliminating six teaching positions, but not touching kindergarten, as threatened, or sports and the arts programs. According to school officials, the cuts to cover the budget shortfall totaled $1,070,296. The instructional cuts came to the equivalent of six teaching positions while other items in the savings were $414,975 in retirements, $40,975 for three school monitors, one cleaner at $29,415, and $115,000 for 18 hours a day in teaching assistants. School board members had suggested cutting kindergarten back half-time or even entirely until they were approached by dozens of residents who objected. If the budget goes down, the board said kindergarten, a non-mandated program, would be reduced or eliminated for a second budget vote.

This budget represents the third year the district had to make significant program and personnel cuts and increase taxes since it was pressured into depleting its reserve fund by the State Comptroller’s Office.

Voters elected two board members. The highest vote-getter of the three candidates would begin serving immediately to fill the remaining term of a previous vacancy to June 30. The term would continue till June 30, 2016. The term of the second highest would begin July 1 for three years. The candidates were:

  • Lorna Tilley-Peltier of Ward Road, Wheatfield.
  • Incumbent Lori Pittman of Lauer Road, Town of Niagara.
  • Amy Deull of Millville Circle, Wheatfield.

-----

NORTH TONAWANDA

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2.56 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $26.83 million, up 2.56 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 or assessed value: $21.48, up 2.558 percent.
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,084.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 41 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 49 percent.
  • Web link: ntschools.org.

Voters considered a $65.74 million budget that increased spending by $987,861 over the previous budget. The rise in spending was driven by benefit costs, primarily the retirement system and contractual increases in salary, said Alan Getter, assistant superintendent for administrative services. This year nine retirements helped the district keep costs down. “Last year we had zero,” Getter said.

Five candidates were running for two three-year terms on the board. They were:

  • Colleen Osborn, 38, an incumbent, is a medical office manager studying for a master’s in nursing and was running for a second term. She wanted to continue to find ways for the community to use school buildings and to encourage the district to share information in a transparent, accountable way.
  • Arthur Pappas, 68, an incumbent, served on the board for 15 years, a decade of those as president of board. A retired elementary and middle school teacher with the Starpoint Central School, he was running for his sixth term. He aims to collaborate with the city to save costs on such things as snow plowing and bring an educator’s perspective to the board. “With education it’s the students that should come first, discussion should revolve around that,” he said.
  • Robert D. Schmigel, 44, a father of three and store manager at CVS, wants to balance school needs with keeping the budget and taxes down.
  • Susanne Williams, 46, an office manager in dental and medical practices, would work to maintain sports and art programs and draw on her experience developing an educational program with her son. 
  • Randy Bradt, 42, a father of three and an accountant and owner of Nicastro Accounting Services in Amherst.

-----

ROYALTON-HARTLAND

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
  • Total budget: $22.02 million, down slightly. Pass 319; Fail 109

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 6.1 percent. 
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $9.36 million up 3 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $22.49, up 3 percent.
  • Taxes on a $100,000 home (market value): $2,249.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 42 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 49 percent.
  • Web link: royhart.org.

Voters took to the polls to consider a $22 million budget, which represented a 0.17 percent decrease in spending from the previous budget, according to Superintendent Kevin MacDonald. “We made significant cuts in the past four to five years and while the cuts were made in past years, they have had significant benefits that continue,” he said.

One of the cuts included a new agreement with Barker schools to share a superintendent. Barker’s Dr. Roger Klatt will oversee both districts, while MacDonald leaves Roy-Hart to head Genesee Valley Educational Partnerships. Other cost-saving moves have included laying off teachers “and we have had a fair number of retirements that helped,” MacDonald said. “We’re trying to be understanding of the community’s needs, while still managing the cuts in state aid we suffered years ago and not balance the budget on the backs of the taxpayers. We feel we’re as close to bare bones as we can get.”

There were two candidates running unopposed for two three-year terms. They were:

  • Daniel Bragg, 58, completing ninth year on board and current vice president. He is manager of Standish Jones Building Supply.
  • Sara Fry, 46, office manager for Hypertherm, Lockport. This was her first time running for a seat.

-----

STARPOINT

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 4.86 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $25.81 million, up 3.18 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $22.23, up 1.99 percent in Cambria. 
  • Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,223.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 55.4 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 39 percent.
  • Web link: starpointcsd.org.

Superintendent C. Douglas Whelan said the proposed Starpoint budget of $46.55 million, which showed a spending increase of less than $1.2 million, did not really cover the district’s cost increases. “The cost of doing business as usual is [an increase of] $3.5 million,” he said. “We have reduced quite a bit, about $950,000 [during the budget process}, plus $300,000 in extra state aid.” He said the district has had 24 retirees in the last four years that have not been replaced.

Eight candidates were running for four seats on the board. The top three finishers received three-year terms; the fourth-place finisher won a one-year term. The candidates were:

  • Susan M. Brooks, 42, of Pendleton, a director of nursing at Buffalo General Medical Center.
  • Incumbent Jeffrey D. Duncan, 40, of Pendleton, who was running for his second term. He is a service account engineer at Siemens in Amherst.
  • Incumbent Michael D. Zimmerman, 47, of Pendleton, is a chief master sergeant in the 914th Airlift Wing at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, working as a load master superintendent on C-130 cargo planes. He was seeking his third term.
  • Eugene E. Stanwich, 64, of Wheatfield, has a doctorate in education and retired after 32 years as a librarian in Amherst schools.
  • Andrea L. Wick, 38, of Pendleton, works at a Buffalo accounting firm.
  • Kevin P. Duffy, 42, of the Town of Lockport, served two terms on the Lockport School Board when he lived in that district. He is a psychologist in the Buffalo Public Schools and in private practice.
  • Incumbent Dennis P. Toth, 57, of Pendleton, is a captain in the Niagara Falls Fire Department, where he has worked for 27 years. He was running for his second term.
  • Sherri Weber, 42, of the Town of Lockport, is a professor of elementary education and reading at SUNY Buffalo State.

-----

WILSON

  • Candidate vote totals (2 winners):
  • Total budget: $24.29 million, up 3.5 percent.  Fail 698;  Pass 414

Additional information:

  • Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 5 percent.
  • Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $11.32 million, up 4 percent.
  • Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $27.42, up 4 percent.
  • Taxes on $100,000 home: $2,523.
  • Percentage of budget from property taxes: 47 percent.
  • Percentage of budget from state aid: 48 percent.
  • Web link: wilson.wnyric.org.

Voters considered a budget that increased spending 3.5 percent due to debt service, salaries, BOCES contracts, materials and supplies, according to school officials.

There were three candidates running for two board seats. The candidates for three-year terms were:

  • Timothy F. Kropp, 63, an incumbent, has served on the board 18 years andwas previously board president. He is a retired lineman for the New York Power Authority. 
  • Mark Randall, 57, an incumbent, is a truck driver and has served on the board for six years. He also serves as vice president of Niagara-Orleans School Board Association.
  • Amy Phillips, 36, is executive secretary for the chief of surgery for Kaleida Health Systems and chairman of the department of surgery at the University at Buffalo. This was her first time running for public office.

NOTE: (i) -- incumbent

NOTE: The capsules include the financial information voters could 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.

Donald Ogilvie, district superintendent for Erie 1 BOCES, reacts to results of school votes in districts across Erie and Niagara counties:

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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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