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Cheektowaga-Sloan voters say no again as 2 of 3 school budgets pass

The second time held no charm for Cheektowaga-Sloan -- the only one of three area school districts unable to get a 2012-13 budget approved during the second round of voting Tuesday.

While voters in Niagara Wheatfield and Wyoming embraced revamped spending plans, Cheektowaga-Sloan again rejected a budget proposal and a related proposition that would have eliminated bus service for some students.

The budget was defeated, 660-434, while the bus service proposition went down, 669-419.

Cheektowaga-Sloan administrators now must find an additional $180,000 to be cut from its spending for 2012-13.

"I'm not sure exactly where we'll go with that," Superintendent James P. Mazgajewski told The Buffalo News last week. "I don't think there's any interest right now in doing anything with sports; we cut those back drastically last year."

In Niagara Wheatfield, where the budget passed, 2,288 to 1,697, Superintendent Kerin M. Dumphrey said it appeared to be a record turnout.

"Now we can go forward. I had a good feeling," he said of the results.

In Wyoming, residents said yes by a vote of 126 to 73.

Niagara Wheatfield voters said no in May to a 9.9 percent tax rate increase that would have been above the district's 7 percent tax cap.

Wyoming voters said no to the identical tax increase in a $4.98 million budget proposal. Both districts submitted new budgets to voters that were under the state-imposed tax cap.

Niagara Wheatfield residents considered a $60.5 million budget, which spends 3.83 percent less than this year's budget. The tax levy will be $28.66 million, up 4.89 percent.

Cheektowaga-Sloan voters initially rejected a budget that would have raised the tax rate by 1.25 percent, the tax cap limit for the district.

The district's reconstituted $33.23 million budget cut $30,000 from the proposal that was defeated in May. That was done by using more fund balance. The budget proposal represented a 0.66 percent increase in spending from the current budget. The tax levy would have been $15.3 million, up 1.05 percent.

This year, the legislation that required a vote of 60 percent for passage of budgets raising taxes above the cap also prohibited any tax levy increase on contingency budgets.

Niagara Wheatfield had laid out what would have happened under a contingency budget: "Class sizes at all levels exceeding 30, devastated athletic program, a bare-bones music program and reduction of kindergarten to half day," the district website said.