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What is on the ballot (and more) for school elections in Erie, Niagara counties

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.

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

  • Candidates (elect three): Mark Bramley (i), Shannon Cinotti, Phillip Kenline (i) and David Penn (i).
  • Total budget: $29.14 million, up 2.93 percent.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m., 47 Bloomingdale Ave., Gym No. 3 (orange gym).
  • Web link: akronschools.org

Voters will consider a $29.1 million budget that will increase spending by nearly 3 percent from the current 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 are running for three seats on the board; each with a three-year term:

  • Mark Bramley, 53, an incumbent, is 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 is seeking a second term.
  • David Penn, 42, an incumbent who is a mathematics teacher at Lancaster Middle School. He is seeking a second term.

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ALDEN

  • Candidates (Elect 1): James Yoerg (i).
  • Total budget: $33.23 million, up 3.56 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Voters will be 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.
  • Proposition 3: Voters will be 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.
  • Polls open: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the gym at Alden High School, 13190 Park St.
  • Web link: aldenschools.org.

Voters will consider a $33.2 million budget that would increase spending by $1.1 million over the current budget.

The rise in spending is driven by a $655,434 increase in spending for benefits and a $361,140 increase in salary obligations.

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

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AMHERST
Candidates (Elect 2): Dominic Vivolo, William Shaflucas.
Total budget: $49.47 million, up 3.7 percent.
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.
Propositions 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.
Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the south gym at Amherst High School, 4301 Main Street
Web link: amherstschools.org

Voters will consider a $49.47 million budget that would increase spending by $1.77 million over the current budget.

The rise in spending is driven by rising personnel costs and a decrease in state aid. District officials are attempting to close a $1.7 million budget gap.

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

  • 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

  • Candidates (Elect 1): Heather DuBard and Dennis S. Kusak Jr.
  • Total budget: $39.9 million, up 2.09 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Voters will be asked to approve the establishment of a seat for a non-voting student member of the Board of Education.
  • Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, in the band room of Cheektowaga Central High School, 3600 Union Road.
  • Web link: cheektowagacentral.org.

Voters will consider a $39.9 million budget that would increase spending by $817,039 over the current budget.

The rise in spending is 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., are running for one five-year term on the board.

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CHEEKTOWAGA-SLOAN

  • Candidates (Elect 1): Claire Ferrucci (i), Sean Kaczmarek, Richard Piontek (i)
  • Total Budget: $33.4 million, up 1.06 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Elimination of all mileage boundaries for transportation to schools.
  • Proposition 3: Reform Board of Education election policy to reward candidates with highest total votes.
  • Proposition 4: Allow a student position on the Board of Education with non-voting, non-compensation status.
  • Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. at the John F. Kennedy High School gym, 305 Cayuga Creek Rd., Cheektowaga.
  • Web link: sloanschools.org

The Cheektowaga-Sloan School District is offering a slight tax decrease for its proposed $33.4 million budget, which raises spending by 1.06 percent.

The budget plan includes an increase in transportation for regular and handicapped students, benefits and instructional equipment and supplies.

Voters will also decide 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 is running unopposed for another five-year term, while incumbent Richard Piontek faces 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

  • Candidates (Elect 2): Tricia Andrews, Beth Bivona, Joseph J. DePasquale, Martha Root Dippold, Jason Lahti, Ian Scaduto, and Roger Showalter.
  • Total budget: $73.3 million, up 1.1 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Borrow to purchase 12 school buses and one pickup truck with plow – not to exceed $995,000
  • Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., High School gymnasium, 9625 Main St.
  • Web link: clarenceschools.org

Voters will consider a $73.3 million budget that would increase spending by $800,000 over the current budget. The district is 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 are running for two three-year terms on the board. (Two incumbents, Elaine Deiderich and Jean Ranney, are not seeking re-election.) The candidates are:

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CLEVELAND HILL

  • Candidates (Elect 2): Paul Kunkel (i); Robert Polino (i).
  • Total Budget: $30.1 million, up 1.36 percent.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. in Cleveland Hill High School auditorium, 105 Mapleview Rd.
  • Web link: clevehill.wnyric.org

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

Two current Cleveland Hill School Board members are seeking reelection in uncontested races, as Robert Polino and Paul Kunkel are both seeking additional three-year terms.

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DEPEW

  • Candidates (Elect 3): Nancy Fumerelle (i), Patrick Law, Gabrielle Miller, Nicole Simon and President John Spencer (i).
  • Total budget: $38.5 million, up 2.85 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Voters will be 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.
  • Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. May 21 in the library at Cayuga Heights Elementary School, 1780 Como Park Blvd.
  • Web link: depewschools.org.

Voters will consider a $38.9 million budget that would increase spending by $1.1 million over the current budget.

The rise in spending is driven by a $544,208 increase in pension payments and a $579,905 increase in health insurance costs.

Five candidates are running for three seats on the board, and the top vote-getters will each win a three-year term. They are:

  • 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

  • Candidates (Elect 2): Judith A. Malys; Clark Martens or Terri Ohlweiler.
  • Total budget: $29.89 million, up by 2.7 percent. 
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: None
  • Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Middle School cafeteria, 430 Main St. 
  • 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 avoid cutting any teacher positions, given painful cuts that were made last year. The budget raises spending by 2.7 percent and factors 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 is increasing 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 re-instated.

What has been cut are 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 remain unchanged.

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

  • Judith A. Malys, 64, a retired East Aurora school teacher, who has 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 are not seeking re-election.

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EDEN

  • Candidates (Elect 2): Kristen D. Pinker (i), Patricia M. Krouse, Steven P. Cerne (i), Paul R. Shephard. 
  • Total budget: $25.72 million, up 2.1 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Voters will be 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 2013-2014 tax levy.
  • Polls open: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Eden Central Junior/ Senior High School, 3150 Schoolview Road, Eden.
  • Web link: edencsd.org

Voters will consider 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 would also end 5 p.m. bus runs, reduce spending on materials and supplies by 10 percent and reduce 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 are running for two three-year terms on the board. They are:

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

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FRONTIER

  • Candidates (Elect 2): *There is 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 now held by veteran board member Nancy Wood, who has served for 30 years; and Jeremey Rosen, who has served for 5 years, will be eliminated.
  • Total budget: $73.21 million, up by 1.28 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Asking 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.
  • Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at just one polling site this year: The Frontier Community Learning Center at 4540 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg.
  • Web link: frontier.wnyric.org.

Voters will consider approving a $73.2 million budget, which calls for the elimination of 24.8 full-time equivalent teachers and support staff for the next school year. The budget increases spending by 1.28 percent and uses 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 is no board race this year.

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GRAND ISLAND

  • Candidates (Elect 3): Acting President Paul Krull (i), Donna Tomkins (i) and Lisa Pyc.
  • Total budget: $54.4 million, up 2.52 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Voters will be 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 is approved.
  • Polls open: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. May 21 at Grand Island High School, 1100 Ransom Road.
  • Web link: k12.ginet.org.


Voters will consider a $54.4 million budget that would increase spending by $1.3 million over the current budget.

The rise in spending is driven by an $886,033 increase in salary obligations and an increase of $764,250 for pension costs.

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

  • Incumbent Donna Tomkins, 54, a travel manager and 31-year Grand Island resident 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

  • Candidates (Elect 3): Joan Calkins (i), John R. Callahan, Catherine Schrauth Forcucci, Laura Heeter, Gary R. Klumpp, Sheila Ruhland and David Yoviene.
  • Total budget: $60.25 million, up 6.45 percent.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the high school gym, 4111 Legion Dr.
  • Web link: hamburgschools.org

The proposed budget continues 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, are not seeking reelection. There are seven candidates running for three School Board seats. They are:

  • 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

  • Candidates (Elect 2): Jenelle Broom Nadler, Brian Jones, Paul Rowe
  • Total budget: $18 million, up 5.5 percent
  • 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
  • Proposition 2: Purchase of one 66-passenger bus, one 34-passenger van, and one 10- passenger van for a total cost of $198,000.
  • Proposition 3: Authorize transfer of up to $150,000 from the unrestricted fund balance to the district’s Repair Reserve Fund
  • Polls open: 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. Middle School Cafeteria, 11720 Partridge Rd.
  • Web link: holland.wnyric.org

Residents in the Holland Central School District will vote on an $18 million spending plan that increases the tax levy by the 4.5 percent allowed under the tax cap formula.

Though the budget is a million dollars higher than last year, it calls for the elimination of varsity girls’ swimming, cheerleading and modified wrestling as well as several teaching positions.

A transportation proposal will also appear on the ballot, as well as, another proposition to add funds to the district’s Repair Reserve.

For the first time voters will elect board members at-large instead of by seat as was done in the past. There are three candidates vying for two seats which carry 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

  • Candidates (Elect 2): Sharon Szeglowski, Daniel T. Behlmaier
  • Total budget: $44.1 million, up 1.39 percent
  • 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
  • Proposition 2: Purchase 3 (62-passenger) buses and 2 van at a maximum cost of $400,000
  • Proposition 3: Expend $60,000 from the district’s Capital Reserve Fund known as the “Technology Reserve Fund
  • Polls open: 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Iroquois Intermediate Gymnasium, Girdle Road
  • Web link: iroquoiscsd.org

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

Two candidates are running unopposed for two seats on the Board. They are:

  • 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

  • Candidates (Elect 2): Bob Dana (i), Richard Harned, Stephen Hart and Todd Potter.
  • Total budget: $149 million, up .84 percent.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Herbert Hoover School, 249 Thorncliff Road.
  • Web link: kenton.k12.ny.us

Voters will consider a $149 million budget that would increase spending by $1.23 million over the current budget.

The proposed budget is the first, in four years, that doesn’t directly reduce student programming or increase class sizes. This year’s voting features the return to a single polling place – down from three.

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

  • 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

  • Candidates (Elect 2): Jennifer R. Grzybowski, Ronald S. Miller (i), Nicholas Sobaszek, and Richard P. Zybert.
  • Total Budget: $47.5 million, up 4.89 percent.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m.
  • Polling sites: First Ward, Bocce Court, 175 Madison Avenue; Second Ward, Queen of Angels Hall (St. Michael’s), 144 Warsaw Street; Third Ward, McKinley School, 245 South Shore Boulevard; Fourth Ward, Lackawanna Senior High School, 550 Martin Road.
  • Web link: lackawannaschools.org

Voters will consider a $47.5 million budget that would increase spending by $2.2 million over the current 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 is driven primarily by increased pension and health care costs, and will be paid for through increased state aid and surplus spending.

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

  • 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, is 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

  • Candidates (Elect 3): Cynthia Latimore (i), William J. Connors Jr., Jennifer S. Farrell.
  • Total budget: $53.28 million, up 1.02 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Purchase of three full-size, 71-passenger school buses for a total cost of $340,639.
  • Polls open: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the lobby of Lake Shore Senior High School, 959 Beach Road.
  • Web link: lakeshore.wnyric.org.

Voters will consider a $53.28 million budget for the 2013-14 school year, an increase in spending of $535,694. The increase is 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 are running for three, three-year terms on the board. They are:

  • 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

  • Candidates (Elect 2): William J. Gallagher, Kenneth E. Graber (i), Julie Gies Kaska.
  • Total budget: $94.72 million, up 3.5 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Spending $906,107 from the bus reserve fund to buy eight, 65-passenger replacement buses, with no tax impact.
  • Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Lancaster High School’s Java Gym, One Forton Drive.
  • Web link: lancasterschools.org

Next year’s $94.72 million budget for the Lancaster School District would increase 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 is driven by increased costs for employee health insurance and retirement benefits.

The budget plan eliminates 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 are running for two, three-year terms on the School Board. They are:

  • 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

  • Candidates (Elect 1): Julianne Renczkowski.
  • Total Budget: $36.4 million, up 1.46 percent.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. in Robert A. Brinner Educational Center, 1050 Maryvale Dr.
  • Web link: maryvale.wnyric.org

Maryvale Schools is proposing a $36.4 million budget plan that would raise 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 reelection.

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NORTH COLLINS

  • Candidates (Elect 1): Tammy Winter.
  • Total budget: $14.87 million, up 3.2 percent. 
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: To purchase one bus and one vehicle at a cost not to exceed $220,000.
  • Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. in North Collins Jr/Sr High School Gym, 2045 School St.
  • 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 reelection, and Tammy Winter is the only candidate for the seat.

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ORCHARD PARK

  • Candidates (Elect 3): Anthony Agnello, Dwight D. Mateer, Donna M. Omar (i), Natalie A. Schaffer, (i), Christopher T. Shively and Christine Gray Tinnesz.
  • Total budget: $86.04 million, up 2.87 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: To spend up to $700,000 to buy four buses, three vans and one wheelchair van 
  • Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Orchard Park High School Gym, 4040 Baker Road. Use the Freeman Road entrance for ease of parking and entrance to gym.
  • Web link: opschools.org

Next year’s budget would keep class sizes within current School Board guidelines, with a net reduction in staff of 8.25 full-time equivalent positions. That includes the net addition of a 0.4 teaching position and a reduction of 8.65 support staff positions. The budget also preserves the gifted and talented program in the elementary and middle schools and increases counselor and social worker support on the elementary level.

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

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

The candidates are:

  • 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, 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 (Elect 1): William Bursee, Allison Duwe
  • Total budget: $34.9 million, up 3 percent
  • 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
  • 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
  • Polls open: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the following locations: High School Library Media Center, 290 North Buffalo St.; Colden Elementary School, 8263 Boston-Colden Rd., Colden and Collins Center Fire Hall, Main St., Collins Center. 
  • Web link: springvillegi.org

Voters in the Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District will decide on a $34.9 million budget, an increase of 3 percent over the current year. The spending plan maintains class sizes, athletic and extracurricular programs, returns team teaching to the Middle School, and allows for the implementation of a Family Support Center.

The one percent tax levy increase is below the 5.1 percent tax cap allowed for the district. A transportation proposal will also appear 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 are:

  • 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 (Elect 1): Scott M. Johnson (i).
  • Total budget: $68.16 million, up 1.24 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Purchase four, 65-passenger school buses at a cost of $442,000.
  • Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Vergils Community Center at Sweet Home High School, 1901 Sweet Home Road.
  • Web link: sweethomeschools.com

Voters will consider a $68.16 million budget that would increase spending by $833,386 over the current spending plan.

The rise in spending is 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

  • Candidates (Elect 3): Geraldine Angelo, Fred Busch, Elizabeth Olka, Danielle Opalinski (i)
  • Total Budget: $29.8 million, up 1.07 percent.
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Approve the sale of Central School to David Capretto for $220,000.
  • Polls open: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Tonawanda High School Wellness Gym, 600 Fletcher St. 
  • 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 is asking voters to approve a $29.8 million budget that will raise the tax levy rate by 3.2 percent.

Tonawanda’s proposed budget makes some reductions to the BOCES special education program and eliminates three full-time teaching positions. It also allows the district to add about $131,000 back into its reserve fund.

The district is also asking 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 will vie 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 are 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 – are not seeking re-election.

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WEST SENECA

  • Candidates (Elect 3): Frank Calieri, Julie Goodwin, Timothy Elling, John C. Oshei, Karl Spencer, Carol Jarczyk (i), Christen Buchholtz and Kate Newton.
  • Total budget: $106.82 million, down 1.26 percent.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. West Seneca East High School, 4670 Seneca St.
  • Web link: wscschools.org

Voters will consider a $106.82 million budget in which spending is down by approximately $1.35 million over the current budget.

While there’s a reduction in personnel of more than 100 people, the costs related to dozens of pending retirements is almost $3.27 million.

Eight candidates are 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.

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WILLIAMSVILLE

  • Candidates (Elect 3): Anthony J. Lafornara III, Michael Kane, Thomas J. Navarro Jr., Carrie Kahn (i), Peter U. Bergmann (i), Mohan Devgunn (i).
  • Total budget: $170 million, up 3.32 percent. 
  • 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.
  • Proposition 2: Voters will be asked to authorize the district to spend up to $920,000 from the transportation capital reserve funds to lease or purchase replacements for eight buses.
  • Polls open: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in North High School Gymnasium, 1595 Hopkins Road, Williamsville.
  • Web link: williamsvillek12.org

Voters will consider a $170 million budget that would increase spending by 3.32 percent over the current budget, but remains within the district’s tax cap.

The budget maintains the current level of academic and extracurricular programming, district administrators have said, and includes 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 reallocates technology funding for a universal iPad program for fifth-graders.

A $3.1 million increase for pension costs makes up more than half of the increased spending in the budget.

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

  • 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 is currently 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

  • Candidates (Elect 2): William Smith (i); Mary Jo Clemens-Harris and John McDonald.
  • Total budget: $19,018,424, down 2.4 percent.
  • 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
  • Proposition 2: Proposal to convert Barker Free Library into a school district library with a $75,000 budget.
  • Proposition 3: Candidates for Library Board (Elect 7): Roy Anderson, James Trinder, Pamela Atwater, Terrence Upton, Henry Charache, Marilyn Zaciewski and Seanna Corwin-Bradley.
  • Polls open: Noon to 8 p.m. in the Barker High School Auditorium, 1628 Quaker Rd.
  • Web link: barkercsd.net

Voters will consider a $19 million budget that cuts spending nearly $467,000 from its current level, a 2.4 percent reduction.

“While our expenditures have steadily risen, our revenues have decreased, primarily from our PILOT (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 6 full-time positions and will not fill vacancies created with retirements,” Klatt said.

Voters will choose from a field of three candidates for two school board openings.

Candidates are:

  • Incumbent William Smith, 73, retired Barker elementary teacher who has served on Barker School Board for 18 years. Was board president for seven years and currently serves as vice-president.
  • Mary Jo Clemens-Harris, 44, is an optician. This is 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. First time running for elected office.

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LEWISTON-PORTER

  • Candidates (Elect 3): Jodee L. Riordan (i), Anna D. Bouley Wright, Betty VanDenBosch Warrick.
  • Total budget: $40 million, down 1.16 percent.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Community Resource Center [board room], 4671 Creek Road.
  • 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 exceeds their district’s tax levy threshold and the proposed budget will need a 60 percent majority to pass.

Superintendent R. Christopher Roser said the increase is 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 cuts 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,” said Roser

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

  • Board President Jodee L. Riordan, 44, of Youngstown, the mother of four, just completed her first three 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 of Buffalo. She is employed in sales as a contract administrator at Modern Disposal. 
  • Betty J. VanDenBosch Warrick, 45, of Youngstown is 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 is 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

  • Candidates (Elect 3): Diane Phelps (i); John Williams (i); Randall Parker; Marietta Schrader; Edward Sandell (i); Todd McNall.
  • Total budget: $83.06 million, up 3.96 percent.
  • 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.
  • 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 intends to borrow $19.2 million on a 15-year bond at 2 3/8 percent interest. The state will reimburse the district’s costs at 92 cents on the dollar, but the district must spend the money up front. The remaining $3 million will be appropriated from a reserve fund.
  • Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. in Washington Hunt Elementary School, 50 Rogers Ave. (1st Ward); Board of Education, 130 Beattie Ave. (2nd Ward); Anna Merritt Elementary School, 389 Green St. (3rd Ward); Charles Upson Elementary School, 28 Harding Ave. (4th Ward); Roy B. Kelley Elementary School, 610 E. High St. (5th Ward); Lockport High School, 250 Lincoln Ave. (towns).
  • Web link: lockportschools.org

Spending rises $3.1 million, or nearly 4 percent, in the $83 million budget voters will consider May 21.

The major increases are in state-mandated pension contributions, driving a $3 million increase in employee benefits, according to a district newsletter. The budget also includes $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 saings. 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 are running for three three-year terms on the board. They are:

  • Incumbent Diane Phelps, 49, is 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, is 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, is 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

  • Candidates (elect 3): Donna Lakes of Charlotteville Road; Michele Malone (i) of Corwin Ave.; James Schmitt of Rounds Road; Margaux Lingle of Chrlotteville Road; Joseph Flagler (i) of Lockport-Olcott Road, Lockport.
  • Total Budget: $33.69 million, up 2.31 percent.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Newfane Elementary School, Main St.
  • Web link: newfane.wnyic.org

Voters are being presented with a budget that holds the tax increase to a flat two percent, the amount usually referred to as the tax levy limit.

Instead of seeking a larger increase, the district will cover more than nine 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 two 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.

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NIAGARA FALLS

  • Candidates (Elect 2): Ronald J. Barstys, Kevin Dobbs (i), Michael S. Gawel, Don J. King (i), Herbert L. Lewis, Anthony F. Paretto.
  • Total budget: $124.06 million, up 1.32 percent.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. at eight neighborhood polling sites. Polling places can be found on district’s website.
  • Web link: nfschools.net/nfschools

Voters will consider a $124.06 million budget that would increase spending by $1.62 million over the current budget.

The budget is the first in 20 years to include a tax levy increase.

District officials say the increase is driven by employee pension contributions and other contractual items.

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

  • 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

  • Candidates (Elect 2): Lorna Tilley-Peltier, Lori Pittman (i) and Amy Deull.
  • Total Budget: $62.75,000, up 3.69 percent
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Polls Open: 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Adult Learning Center, 2292 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn, N.Y.
  • Web link: nwcsd.k12.ny.us/nwcsd/site

Voters will decide 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 total $1,070,296. The instructional cuts come to the equivalent of six teaching positions while other items in the savings are $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, they said kindergarten, a non-mandated program, would be reduced or eliminated for a second budget vote.

This budget represents the third year the district has 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 will elect two members. The highest vote-getter of the three candidates would begin serving on May 21, immediately after the vote to fill the remaining term of a previous vacancy to June 30. The term would continue to June 30, 2016. The term of the second highest would begin Jul1 for three years.
They are:

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

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NORTH TONAWANDA

  • Candidates (Elect 2): Colleen Osborn (i), Arthur Pappas (i), Robert Schmigel, Susanne Williams, Randy Bradt.
  • Total budget: $65.74 million, up 1.53 percent.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Alumni Center at North Tonawanda High School, 405 Meadow Drive.
  • Web link: ntschools.org

Voters will consider a $65.74 million budget that would increase spending by $987,861 over the current budget.

The rise in spending is 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 are running for two three-year terms on the board. They are:

  • Colleen Osborn, 38, an incumbent, is a medical office manager studying for a master’s in nursing, running for a second term. She wants 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 is now 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.

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ROYALTON-HARTLAND

  • Candidates (Elect two): Daniel Bragg (i); Sara Fry
  • Total budget: $22.02 million, down slightly.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: noon to 8 p.m. in Roy-Hart High School gym, 54 State St., Middleport.
  • Web link: - royhart.org 

Voters will take to the polls to consider a $22 million budget, which represents a .17 percent decrease in spending from the current 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 inclded laying off teachers “and we have had a fair number of retirements that has 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 are two candidates running unopposed for two three-year terms. They are:

  • 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 is her first time running for a seat.

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STARPOINT

  • Candidates (Elect 4): Susan M. Brooks, Jeffrey D. Duncan (i), Michael D. Zimmerman (i), Eugene E. Stanwich, Andrea L. Wick, Kevin P. Duffy, Dennis P. Toth (i), Sherri Weber.
  • Total budget: $46.55 million, up 2.6 percent.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the middle school gymnasium, 4363 Mapleton Road, Pendleton.
  • Web link: starpointcsd.org

Superintendent C. Douglas Whelan said the proposed Starpoint budget of $46.55 million, which shows a spending increase of less than $1.2 million, doesn’t 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 haven’t been replaced.
Eight candidates are running for four seats on the board. The top three finishers receive three-year terms; the fourth-place finisher wins a one-year term.

The candidates are:

  • Susan M. Brooks, 42 of Pendleton, a director of nursing at Buffalo General Medical Center.
  • Incumbent Jeffrey D. Duncan, 40, of Pendleton, who is 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 is 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 is 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.

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WILSON

  • Candidates (Elect two): Timothy F. Kropp (i), Mark Randall (i); and Amy Phillips.
  • Total budget: $24.29 million, up 3.5 percent.
  • 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.
  • Polls open: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in R. Zipp Gym at Wilson High School, 412 Lake St.
  • Web link: wilson.wnyric.org.

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

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

  • Timothy F. Kropp, 63, an incumbent, has served on the board 18 years and is current 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 SUNY Buffalo. This is her first time running for public office.
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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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