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A preview of school elections in Niagara County

Barker

Candidates (Elect 3): Randall Atwater (i), Ronald Clemens (i) and Gordon Kenyon (i).

Total budget: $19.48 million, up 1.47 percent.

Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 31 percent.

Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $106,588, up 2.9 percent.

Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $15.42.

Taxes on a $100,000 home (market value): $1,172.

Percentage of budget from property taxes: 19.4 percent.

Percentage of budget from state aid: 34.5 percent.

Polls open: Noon to 8 p.m. in Herbert Ludwig auditorium at Barker High School, 1628 Quaker Road.

Web link: www.barkercsd.net

Residents will vote on a budget that carries the first tax levy increase -- a proposed 2.9 percent hike -- in four years when they go to the polls.

"We believe it's our obligation to offer a quality education to our students, and that's not beyond reason," according to Superintendent Roger Klatt. "In order to make our students competitive and competent in the workplace, we only ask the amount we need to fulfill that obligation as a school district."

Voters will also re-elect three incumbents to the seven-member School Board in an uncontested race. They are:

Randy Atwater, who has served on the board since 1988 and graduated from Barker High School in 1977. He has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and is international sales manager for Shoreline Fruit LLC.

Ronald L. Clemens, who is seeking his third, three-year term on the board. A lifelong Barker resident, he is retired from General Motors and the New York State Air National Guard and currently works as a school bus driver for Ridge Road Express.

Incumbent Gordon Kenyon, who is also a Barker High School graduate and has an associate's degree in natural resources conservation. He was the Niagara County Water District's chief water plant operator and laboratory director for 33 years before retirement.

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Lewiston-Porter

Candidates (Elect 2): Michael J. Skowronski and Mollie A. Lucas.

Total budget: $40.47 million, up .59 percent.

Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 3.51 percent.

Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $22,359,178, up 3.51 percent.

Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $22.91 for Lewiston, up 4.15 percent; Porter $19.77, up 1 percent.

Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,855.

Percentage of budget from property taxes: 55.24 percent.

Percentage of budget from state aid: 33.75 percent.

Proposition 2: $2.7 million capital improvement project to improve and renovate the high school and middle school.

Polls open: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. in district board room of the Lewiston-Porter Central School Community Resource Center, 4061 Creek Road.

Web link: www.lewport.com

Voters will consider a $40.5 million spending plan that would increase spending by $758,474, up just over half a percent from the current budget and less that the district budget was in 2009-2010.

Over the past four years, residents have seen an average tax rate decrease of 0.21 percent, but this year rates will be increasing as the district deals with a loss in state aid.

Also on the ballot will be a second proposition to approve a $2.7 million capital improvement project. The project will include reconstruction and renovation work at the high school and middle school pools, including pool liners, masonry, drains and skylights, as well as roof repair at the high school and state-mandated health- and safety-related repairs. The project will be paid off over a number of years, and state aid building funds will be available to offset the local tax burden.

Voters also will elect two members to the seven-member School Board. Both are newcomers who are unopposed for the three-year terms on the board. They are:

Michael J. Skowronski, 49, who has worked for Niagara University since 1991, where he is the corporate relations developer in the Career Services Office.

Mollie A. Lucas, 43, who has been employed as a caseworker supervisor for Niagara County Social Services since 1990.

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Lockport

Candidates (Elect 3): Thomas W. Fiegl (i), John A. Linderman (i), Kevin W. Pratt.

Total budget: $79.9 million, up 1.13 percent.

Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: City of Lockport $24.97, Town of Lockport $24.88, Cambria $25, Pendleton $25.39, all up 37 cents.

Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $34,554,670; increase of $512,318 or 1.5 percent.

Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2.28 percent.

Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,497.

Percentage of budget from property taxes: 43.2 percent.

Percent of budget from state aid: 46.86 percent.

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: www.lockportschools.org.

Voters will consider a budget of almost $79.9 million, which Deborah A. Coder, assistant superintendent for finance and management, called "a needs-based budget."

The district is using almost $3.2 million from reserve funds in this budget, and the largest spending item increase, a $1.3 million districtwide technology upgrade approved by voters last year, is covered by federal aid.

"We do recognize the struggle our residents are having in this economy," Coder said, noting that the district is raising the tax levy by less than half of what it would have been allowed to under the tax cap law.

Voters also will elect three members to the seven-member School Board for three-year terms. Candidates are unopposed:

John A. Linderman, 56, the board president, is running for his fourth term. He is an employment specialist in the Niagara County Social Services Department.

Thomas W. Fiegl, 69, a retired Lockport police officer, is running for his fourth term.

Kevin W. Pratt, 48, running for the first time, is a Lockport firefighter. He is seeking the seat being vacated by James F. Gugliuzza, who decided not to seek re-election.

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Newfane

Candidates (Elect 2): James Reineke (i) and Kelly Artieri (i).

Total budget: $32.94 million, up 4.55 percent.

Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2.11 percent.

Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $12,538,984, up 2.11 percent.

Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $27.70, up 2.11 percent.

Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,715.

Percentage of budget from property taxes: 38 percent.

Percentage of budget from state aid: 50 percent.

Polls open: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Newfane Elementary School, 2909 Transit Road.

When voters go to the polls, they will consider a budget of nearly $33 million that would increase spending by 4.55 percent over the current budget.

Voters also will elect two members to the School Board. Two of the present members are seeking re-election to three-year terms. They have no opposition.

They are:

James Reineke, seeking election to a second consecutive term.

Kelly Artieri, also seeking election to her second consecutive term.

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Niagara Falls

Candidates (Elect 1): Vincent "Jimmy" Cancemi Sr. (i) and Joseph Marinello Jr.

Total budget: $122.44 million, up 1.14 percent.

Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 5.583 percent.

Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $25,076,688, unchanged.

Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $18.90, unchanged.

Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,757.

Percentage of budget from property taxes: 21.5 percent.

Percentage of budget from state aid: 72.4 percent.

Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. at all 24 regular polling places throughout the city.

Web link: www.nfschools.net

When voters go to the polls, they will consider a $122.4 million budget that would increase spending by about $1.3 million over the current budget.

Voters also will elect one candidate to the nine-member School Board for a five-year term.

There are two candidates.

They are:

Vincent "Jimmy" Cancemi Sr., 70, the incumbent, who is seeking election to his second term. He is president of Cancemi Furniture store and is a retired special-education teacher.

Joseph Marinello Jr., 39, a paramedic. He ran for a seat on the School Board in 2011 but was not elected.

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Niagara Wheatfield

Candidates (Elect 2): Kristin MacKenzie (i); Steven Sabo (i); and Richard Sirianni.

Total budget: $62 million, down 1.84 percent.

Tax levy increase allowed under cap: 5.6 percent (after state adjustments).

Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $30,272,363, up 6 percent.

Property tax per $1,000 of assessed valuation: Town of Niagara, $29.05 (homestead), $39.04 (nonhomestead); Wheatfield, $24.57 (h), $33.71 (n); Lewiston, $20.69 (h), $28.01 (n); Cambria, $17.01 (h), $22.97 (n). Cambria is full value. Up 9.9 percent:

Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $1,701.

Percentage of budget from property taxes: 49 percent.

Percentage of budget from state aid: 46 percent.

Polls open: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Senior High Adult Learning Center, 2292 Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn.

Web link: www.nwcsd.k12.ny.us/Page/471ih,,,2

To pass the budget, the district needs a supermajority of voters or 60 percent to approve the fiscal package because the proposed tax increase of 9.9 percent exceeds what the state will allow under the adjusted tax cap of 7 percent. Based on the number of voters who came to the polls in 2011, about 1,020 votes are needed to approve the $61.78 million budget.

The tax increase is needed to help bail out the district, which has to offset an $8 million deficit caused by five years of spending reserve funds. A number of advanced programs had to be cut and the district is laying off about 32 teachers and 18 other staff to help balance the books.

Running for two seats of three-year terms are two incumbents and one newcomer.

Steven Sabo, who was elected last year, serves as board president. A teacher in the North Tonawanda school district, Sabo has been a strong proponent of fiscal responsibility to get the district out of its deficit situation. He said he wants to see the task completed.

Kristin MacKenzie, who is completing her first term on the board, said she wants to be re-elected to finish the job she started in getting the budget straightened out. She said the search for a new school superintendent is one of her priorities.

Newcomer Richard Sirianni explained that his 26 years as a union officer qualify him to deal with district issues. He has been attending board meetings for more than two years and believes that credibility needs to be brought back to the board.

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North Tonawanda

Candidates (Elect 3): Lisa Spencer, Dorothy "Dotti" Kuebler, James Martineck, Kevin LoCicero (i), Darlene Bolsover, Michael Carney.

Total budget: $64.75 million, up 0.43 percent.

Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2.47 percent.

Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $631,210, up 2.47 percent.

Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $21.02 for North Tonawanda, up 2.47 percent.

Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,039.

Percentage of budget from property taxes: 40.41 percent.

Percent of budget from state aid: 49.82 percent.

Proposition 2: Spend $200,000 from a reserve fund to purchase a school bus.

Polls open: Noon to 9 p.m. at North Tonawanda High School Alumni Center, 455 Meadow Drive.

Web link: www.ntschools.org

The district's $64.7 million budget would increase spending by $631,000, along with cuts to reflect the district's loss of $1.6 million in federal stimulus funding, with cuts to about 40 teaching and support staff positions and the closing of Gilmore Elementary School, said Gregory Woytila, the superintendent.

The system just redestricted, and many of Gilmore students and teachers will be relocated to a former BOCES wing of Meadow Elementary; using the extra classroom space allowed the district to keep teaching staff and still save money.

Other cuts include some prevarsity, modified sports -- wrestling, baseball and softball -- for middle-school-age kids and offerings that are not part of the state requirements, including two elementary school librarians, some elementary programs for gifted and talented, some counseling and some elective classes, such as woodworking and building shop, and the consumer sciences of parenting and cooking.

"We're not happy at all," Woytila said of the cuts. "We value every program, or we wouldn't have had it here. It's very disheartening."

The staff cuts from this year and last year -- about 60 -- total about 100 positions. While they are more severe than Woytila would like, they do adjust to a change in student numbers: About 10 years ago, there were 8,000 students in the school system. Now there are about 4,000.

Voters will also elect three to three-year seats on the seven-member School Board:

Lisa Spencer, 34, is trying for her first elected office. With a son in second grade and a daughter in kindergarten, she has volunteered in their classrooms, helped raise $6,000 for school books and as a board member would advocate for small class sizes. She is a member the Spruce Home and School Organization and the Shared Decision Making Teamm.

Dorothy "Dotti" Kuebler, 63, is also trying for her first elected office. A retired account clerk for the school district, she has seven grandchildren in the school system. She would use her experience working in the district to find ways to save money without hurting education.

James Martineck, 35, is trying for his first elected office. He is production supervisor at General Motors, the father of two children in local schools and wants to spare extracurricular programs from budget cuts. He has a master's degree in finance from Indiana University and will use his expertise to evaluate future budgets.

Kevin LoCicero, 54, is an incumbent who has served on the board since 2009. A sergeant in the Niagara County Sheriff's Office, he teaches ethics and criminal justice at Niagara University and wants to work to keep programs, such as foreign language study and SAT preparation.

Michael Carney, 50, served one term on the board, which ended in 2011. He has long been involved in local politics. While he lost his bids for County Legislature and mayor, he served as city councilman for a two-year term and is now Republican deputy election commissioner in Niagara County. As a School Board member, he would like to save money by considering new strategies, such as sharing functions with neighboring districts.

Darlene Bolsover, 39, is trying for her first elected office. A stay-at-home mom for the last six years, she was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant after 15 years in the Army Reserve, winning an award for excellence in food service. If elected, she would advocate for excellence in schools.

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Royalton-Hartland

Candidates (Elect 2): Sandra Hoerner and Patricia Riegle (i).

Total budget: $22.06 million, down 2.04 percent.

Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2.49 percent.

Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $9,263,337, up 2 percent.

Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $22.27, up 2 percent.

Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,161.

Percentage of budget from property taxes: 42 percent.

Percentage of budget from state aid: 50 percent.

Proposition 2: Reduce the annual tax levy for the Middleport Free Library from $103,000 to zero dollars.

Polls open: Noon to 8 p.m., high school gymnasium, 54 State St., Middleport.

Web link: www.royhart.org

When voters go to the polls, they will consider a $22 million budget that would decrease spending by $460,203 over the current budget. Voters will also elect two to the seven-member School Board.

There are two candidates who are unopposed for three-year seats. They are:

Patricia Riegle, the board president, a Gasport resident who is running for her fourth term on the board. She is an administrator at Erie 1 BOCES.

Sandra Hoerner, a former vice president of the Roy-Hart Elementary School PTA. She is a teacher's aide for the Depew School District.

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Starpoint

Candidates (Elect 2): Gregory G. Brehm (i), Mark E. Ewart (i).

Total budget: $45.36 million, up 1.04 percent.

Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 3.15 percent.

Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $25.02 million, up 3.09 percent.

Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $21.76 for Cambria and Lockport; $22.21 for Pendleton; $22.44 for Royalton; $31.54 for Wheatfield; all up 1.28 percent.

Taxes on $100,000 home (market value): $2,176.

Percentage of budget from property taxes: 55.2 percent.

Percentage of budget from state aid: 38.7 percent.

Polls open: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Starpoint Middle School Gymnasium, 4363 Mapleton Road, Lockport.

Web link: http://starpointcsd.org/index.cfm

When voters go to the polls, they will consider a $45 million budget that would increase spending by $467,008 over the current budget.

Voters also will re-elect two incumbents to the nine-member School Board. Both candidates are unopposed. They are:

Gregory G. Brehm, 55, an incumbent, is seeking election to a three-year term. He is a computer consultant and entrepreneur.

Mark E. Ewart, 55, an incumbent, is seeking election to a three-year term. He is vice president of operations and engineering at WBBZ-TV.

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Wilson

Candidates (Elect two): Christopher Carlin (i), Michael Leggett (i), Christopher Srock and Eric Truesdell.

Total budget: $23.48 million, up 0.27 percent.

Tax levy increase allowed under tax cap: 2.6 percent.

Tax levy (total amount to be raised through property taxes): $10,876,072, up 2.6 percent.

Property tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value: $24.53.

Taxes on $100,000 home: $2,281.

Percentage of budget from property taxes: 47 percent.

Percentage of budget from state aid: 47 percent.

Polls open: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Dick Zipp Gym at Wilson High School, 412 Lake St.

Voters will consider a budget that includes a spending increase of just under $63,000, due to the rising costs of state-mandated benefits, according to school officials.

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

Incumbent Christopher Carlin, 53, a federal investigator for the U.S. Department of Labor. He is seeking his first full three-year term but is finishing his second year on the board, having been appointed to fill an unexpired term in January 2011 and then winning a special election last May for a one-year term.

Incumbent Michael Leggett, 43, who is seeking his third term. He is a criminal investigator for the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

Newcomer Christopher Srock, 32, a stay-at-home father of three.

Newcomer Eric Truesdell, 34, a dispatcher for a trucking company.