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Cheektowaga-Sloan voters approve $33.2M budget

Cheektowaga-Sloan voters on Tuesday approved next year’s $33.2 million budget, which officials touted as a lean spending plan that maintains teaching positions, sports, art, music and other student programs.

The budget passed, 585-193.

Voters also chose two Board of Education members from a field of four candidates, including incumbent Debra Smith with 375 votes and David Vohwinkel with 348 votes. Other candidates included Zachary Smith, who earned 340 votes, and Jacqueline Kubisty, who received 294.

Vohwinkel, 19, a 2013 district graduate, ran to try to bring back programs and opportunities to students after several clubs and programs were cut the past few years. He’s pleased with the victory.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s been a long process.”

A presentation by Nickel City Reptiles, an art show, a music festival and a cookout were held with the election, leading to a steady stream of voters throughout the day.

“It’s been wonderful,” Superintendent Andrea Galenski said. “The best thing for me is to see so many families here.”

Next year’s spending plan is 1.96 percent lower than this year’s. The tax levy will be about $15.2 million, up 0.95 percent from this year, which is below the allowed cap of 3.74 percent.

The taxes on a home assessed at $100,000 would be $3,305. Estimated property tax rates per $1,000 of assessed value will be $33.05 in Cheektowaga, up 0.95 percent; and $76.32 in West Seneca, up 0.94 percent.

Officials said that the effect on the average home is a tax increase of $12.40.

Kayla Czubaj, who graduated from the district last year and voted in her second school election Tuesday, voted yes on the budget, but she still has concerns with how advanced classes and extracurricular activities have been cut over the years.

She says the lack of advanced classes left her ill-prepared for college.

“I’m just disappointed with how things have been taken away,” she said. “Voting no would just take more away, and that’s definitely not what the kids need.”

Also on the ballot were propositions to establish a capital reserve fund to help finance future capital improvement projects and to approve an ex-officio student representative on the Board of Education. The capital reserve fund measure was approved 579-186, while the ex-officio student rep proposition passed 598-159.