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Sports programs will be up and running at Cheektowaga-Sloan district schools this school year with Wednesday night's approval of the $260,555 proposition for sports, field trips and extracurricular activities by just 12 votes.

The final result was 561-549.

For taxpayers, the estimated tax rate for both the austerity budget adopted last month and the approved proposition is $26.83 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, up $1.56, for Cheektowaga residents, and $25.83, up $1.21, for West Seneca residents.

"It was the effort on the part of the sports clubs -- the kids themselves -- that made the difference," said Superintendent James P. Mazgajewski. "It's a relief. Without getting the vote through, I don't know how they could have paid for it."

Parents and athletes had worked feverishly since the budget was voted down June 11. More than 900 fliers were handed out, urging residents to "please help support our kids."

A rally held Tuesday night, and 15 absentee ballots, may have made the difference this time out.

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