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Overriding tax caps largely rejected Niagara Wheatfield, Wyoming budgets defeated; Holland is the exception

Overriding the tax cap was a gamble that failed in some school districts Tuesday.

Voters defeated the budgets in Niagara Wheatfield Central and in Wyoming Central, which had sought to override the tax cap.

Both budgets would have raised taxes by 9.9 percent, something that voters apparently were not able to handle.

Voters also defeated the budget in Cheektowaga-Sloan, 421-452. That follows last year's vote that saw the budget approved by only 18 votes.

Sloan's tax cap was 1.25 percent, and the tax levy would have gone up 1.25 percent. Teachers had agreed to concessions to save money.

Voters also approved a proposition that would increase the distance children must live from school to receive transportation. A resident collected petitions to get the proposition on the ballot.

It would have children in kindergarten through eighth grade living a half-mile from school, as well as high schoolers living one mile from school, walk instead of being bused. The proposition was approved, 651-404, which could save the district about $14,000.

Voters approved the budget in Holland, which also was trying to override the tax cap. The budget will exceed the tax cap by 0.42 percent. They needed 60 percent of the vote, and the budget passed with 65 percent.

Not only did Niagara Wheatfield voters not get to 60 percent approval, they defeated the spending plan outright.

"Obviously, the voters have spoken tonight, so we're going to have to go back and make some serious cuts," School Superintendent Kerin Dumphrey said.

If Niagara Wheatfield has to go to a contingent budget, another $2.7 million will have to be cut.

"The Board of Education will have to talk about cutting deeper in to programs, cutting deeper into class sizes," Dumphrey said.

In Hamburg, one of the voting machines malfunctioned as district officials were trying to get the results Tuesday night. The machine was sealed, and the Erie County Board of Elections was called, a district spokeswoman said. Complete results were not available Tuesday night.

Frontier officials also reported a machine malfunction but said even with those votes, it appeared their budget and three other propositions -- including one to downsize the board -- would pass.

Frontier would not be the only district with a smaller school board in the next school year. Westfield in Chautauqua County will go from nine members to seven. Springville approved a proposition to reduce the size of the board by two votes, while Holland voters overwhelmingly defeated a similar proposition.

Incumbent John Semler in Clarence lost as did Dennis Holbrook in East Aurora.

In many districts, school board incumbents have had little opposition. Races in seven of 10 districts in Niagara county were unopposed. In Erie County, there were races in 14 districts, while candidates are running unopposed in 13 districts.

And in Akron, two seats were open, but only one person filed petitions and ran.

School districts will have to learn to manage their finances and programs with the tax cap in the years to come. Most districts have already cut personnel.

"Major cuts in the way we have achieved them in the past are no longer feasible," said Erie 1 BOCES Superintendent Donald Ogilvie. "I think we've done everything we can in that area."

That means future budgets will have to look at combining services, such as back office duties, and rethinking transportation. Some districts already are sharing administrators and cooperating on transportation.

Ogilvie said there should be a greater effort to manage centrally and deliver services locally in the future.

In Royalton-Hartland, residents voted to keep their library tax, 401-84. A referendum was held last year on the library tax, but it took place three weeks after the school election.

That vote was not publicized in mandatory budget fliers mailed to each home, but it was included in a legal notice in local newspapers, and a public meeting was conducted in the Middleport Fire Hall. It raised $103,000 for the library.

Royalton resident Mary Cedeno circulated petitions to get the measure on Tuesday's ballot.

Under state law, the library tax does not have to be reapproved every year. It would be perpetual unless there was a need to change the amount. Tuesday's proposition sought to change the amount to zero.

> Erie County


Candidates (Elect 2): Daniel Caprio (i), 420.

Budget: Yes, 418; No, 177.


Candidates (Elect 1): Zack Salim, 719.

Budget: Yes, 559; No, 392.

Proposition 2: Spend $444,000 from the school bus reserve fund: Yes, 623; No, 320.

Proposition 3: Establish a new capital reserve fund for transportation purchases at an amount not to exceed $900,000: Yes, 570; No, 366.

Proposition 4: Establish a new capital reserve fund for facilities, equipment and technology, not to exceed $3 million: Yes, 537; No, 404.

Proposition 5: Spend $45,000 from the district's buildings and grounds equipment capital reserve fund to purchase a pickup truck with a plow and equipment trailer: Yes, 571; No, 375.


Candidates (Elect 3): Jeanne Ernst, 858; Paul Steimle (i), 824; David Stocking (i), 815; James Gramkee, 366.

Budget: Yes, 851; No, 222.


Candidates (Elect 2): Susan C. Altman (i), 1,605; Michael Fuchs, 1,168; John Semler (i), 999.

Budget: Yes, 1,545; No, 715.

Proposition 2: Purchase nine new school buses for an amount not to exceed $995,000: Yes, 1385; No, 800.


Candidates (Elect 2): Thomas S. Kulaszewski (i); Mary E. Metzger (i). Vote totals not available.

Budget: Yes, 231; No, 103.


Candidates (Elect 1): Paul Nazzarett Jr. (i), n/a.

Budget: Yes, 396; No, 171.


Candidates (Elect 1): Gary Sieczkarek, 601.

Budget: Yes, 421; No, 452.

Proposition 2: Increase the transportation distance limits for kindergarten through eighth grade to one half-mile and to 1 mile for high schoolers: Yes, 461; No, 404.


Candidates (Elect 2): David Sheff (i), 400; Justin P. Young, 358; Patrick Law (i), 342; Steven Karnyski, 289; Andrea O'Hern, 159;

Budget: Yes, 629; No, 267.

Proposition 2: Use $380,338 from the vehicle reserve fund to buy three 66-passenger buses and one 28-passenger bus: Yes, 690; No, 197.


Candidates (Elect 2): MaryBeth Covert (i), 832; Kimberlee L. Danieu, 665; Dennis Holbrook (i), 370; Kenneth A. Horton, 354; William F. Kane Jr., 214.

Budget: Yes, 883; No, 455.


Candidates (Elect 3): Scott Henderson, 504; Barbara Henry, 470; Michael M. Byrnes, 459; Robert. J. Reed, 324.

Budget: Yes, 515; No, 244.


Candidates (Elect 2): Thomas M. Best Jr., n/a; Patrick T. Boyle, n/a.

Budget: Yes, n/a; No, n/a.

Proposition 2: Spend $896,090 for purchase of eight school buses and a one-ton dump truck for grounds maintenance: Yes, n/a; No, n/a.

Proposition 3: Downsize the School Board from nine members to seven members: Yes, n/a; No, n/a.

Proposition 4: Appoint a nonvoting high school student to serve on the School Board: Yes, n/a; No, n/a.


Candidates (Elect 3): David Goris (i), 974; Glenn Bobeck (i), 936; Joan Droit (i), 923.

Budget: Yes, 862; No, 507.

Proposition 2: Spend $575,500 to buy three 66-passenger buses, two small special-education buses, two trucks with plows and one trailer mount aerial lift: Yes, 853; No, 504.


Candidates (Elect 3): Sally Stephenson, n/a; Patricia Brunner-Collins (i), n/a; Ginger I. Taylor, n/a; Laura Heeter, n/a; Tracy O'Connor Robillard, n/a; Robert P. Madden (i), n/a; John E. Maurer, n/a; Dr. Joan G. Calkins (i), n/a.

Budget: Yes, n/a No, n/a.


Candidates (Elect 1): Taina Armstrong Hoffman, 1,081; Scott Wander, 665.

Budget: Yes, 1,159; No, 561.

Proposition 2: Purchase two 34-passenger vans for a total cost of $100,000: Yes, 1,161; No, 574.

Proposition 3: Reduce School Board size from seven seats to five: Yes, 488; No, 1,243.

Proposition 4: Change election process of board candidates running for specific seats to at-large election: Yes, 1,134; No, 547.


Candidates (Elect 1): Michele Hovey, n/a.

Budget: Yes, 1,905; No, 1,092.

Proposition 2: Purchase three 62-passenger buses at a maximum cost of $360,000: Yes, 1,856; No, 1,079.

Proposition 3: Expend $60,000 from the district's Technology Reserve Fund and transfer no more than $450,000 from the unappropriated fund balance to the Repair Reserve Fund: Yes, 2,032; No, 906.


Candidates (Elect 1): Stephen Brooks (i), 1,651; Susan Sperrazza, 1,106.

Budget: Yes, 2,149; No, 759.


Candidates (Elect 3): Leonard F. Kowalski, 1,682; Mark E. Kowalski, 1,549; Robert C. Sireika, 1,479; Maureen Murphy Gambino (i), 1,143; John W. Makeyenko (i), 965.

Budget: Yes, 1,256; No, 1,101.


Candidates (Elect 2): Jennifer Wackowski (i), 1022; Richard A. Vogan (i), 833; Kenneth West, 730.

Budget: Yes, 947; No, 581.

Proposition 2: Spend $823,889 for five full-size Blue Bird school buses, one 30-passenger school bus, two wheelchair school buses, one plow truck and one service truck: Yes, 862; No, 661.


Candidates (Elect 2): Wendy Buchert (i), n/a; Kimberly Nowak, n/a.

Budget: Yes, 1,824; No, 1,308.

Proposition 2: A $19.5 million capital project to address health and safety needs at 10 buildings in the district: Yes, 1,803; No, 1,288.

Proposition 3: Spend $1.2 million from existing school bus reserve fund to buy seven 65-passenger replacement buses and six 29-passenger replacement buses: Yes, 1,958; No, 1,147.

Proposition 4: Establish a new school bus reserve fund, for the purpose of buying school buses, for up to $9 million over a 10-year period: Yes, 1,835; No, 1,246.


Candidates (Elect 1): Margaret J. Bourdette (i), 375.

Budget: Yes, 328; No, 131.

Proposition 2: Spend up to $100,000 to replace a hot water heater and replace exterior stairs and railings at the 9-10 building: Yes, 367; No, 87.


Candidates (Elect 2): David Gier (i), 161; Lisa Petrus, 154.

Budget: Yes, 204; No, 63.

Proposition 2: Purchase two school buses at a cost not to exceed $200,000: Yes, 204; No, 62.


Candidates (Elect 2): Elizabeth D. Quinlan, 1,661; Alfred McClymonds (i), 1,602.

Budget: Yes, 1,412; No, 780.

Proposition 2: Spend up to $680,000 to purchase six buses and two wheelchair van-buses: Yes, 1,465; No, 700.


Candidates (Elect 1): Kara Kane, 604.

Budget: Yes, 532; No, 347.

Proposition 2: Spend up to $400,000 to purchase four buses and accompanying radios and cameras: Yes, 495; No, 368.

Proposition 3: Reduce the number of seats on the board from seven to five: Yes, 432; No, 430.


Candidates (Elect 2): Marianne Jansen (i), 883; Douglas J. Galli (i), 662; Jack I. Reich, 391.

Budget: Yes, 879; No, 213.

Proposition 2: Authorize the spending of $442,000 for four school buses: Yes, 767; No, 311.

Proposition 3: $645,000 for an EXCEL project to improve the district's technology and telephone infrastructures, funding to be covered by the state: Yes, 848; No, 228.


Candidates (Elect 2): Sharon Stuart (i), 426; Jennifer Mysliwy (i), 389; Brenda S. Boyle, n/a.

Budget: Yes, 426; No, 185.


Candidates (Elect 2): Mary J. Busse (i), 1,638; Gwendolyn A. Phillips (i), 1,545; Brendon Najm, 1,422.

Budget: Yes, 1,830; No, 877.

Proposition 2: Allow spending $368,000 from the Bus Purchase Reserve Fund for the purchase of eight 22-passenger school buses at a cost of $46,000 each: Yes, 2,066; No, 615.


Candidates (Elect 3): Michael Littman (i), 2,668; Jay Smith, 2,559; Toni Vazquez, 2,338.

Budget: Yes, 2,655; No, 726.