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Six grapple for three spots on Depew School Board

A half dozen candidates filed petitions by Monday’s deadline in the hopes of winning one of three available seats on the Depew School Board.

Incumbents John Spencer and Nancy Fumerelle will face challenges from Steven Brady, Patrick Law, Gabrielle Miller and Nicole Simon during next month’s race, according to district clerk Jessica Neischel. The top three vote-getters will each win a three-year term.

A noticeable absence from the ballot is incumbent Trustee Diane Benczkowski, who has been a member of the board for the past 12 years. She opted out of this contest to focus on her campaign for Cheektowaga Town Board. One of her proudest moments with the Depew board was last year’s change to the Public Participation Policy, which made it easier for community members to address the board with questions and concerns.

Benczkowski said she will miss working with district residents most of all: “I always made it a point to listen to the concerns of the taxpayers, parents, students and district employees no matter how small or big the concern was.”

The School Board election and budget vote will be held from noon to 9 p.m. May 21 in Cayuga Heights Elementary School.

In addition to the candidates, voters will consider three propositions, including the $38.9 million budget for 2013-2014. The spending plan includes a 2.97 percent tax levy increase. It would raise tax bills $99.54 for those living in Cheektowaga and $61.22 for those in Lancaster whose homes are assessed at $100,000.

The second proposition involves the district’s use of $460,851 from a reserve fund to purchase two school buses, four vans and a plow truck for the Buildings and Grounds Department, while the third would authorize the district to sell the Terrace Elementary School building for no less than $700,000.