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Clarence voters face budget with mixed emotions

The proposed $78 million Clarence school budget with its 3.61 percent increase was enough to turn off some of the voters heading to the high school to cast ballots Tuesday. Others had different reasons for voting against the budget.

Bill Ludka walked toward the school doors to vote against the school budget because of his concerns about student injuries from sports.

A registered nurse and substitute teacher, he sees too many young athletes with related concussions and soft tissue and joint problems.

“It’s a tragedy,” he said. “We have no clue as to how much money’s being spent on sports.”

The school system and its array of activities had fans, too. Jennifer Naab, a mother of six with children enrolled from pre-kindergarten classes to high school, was pleased with the personal attention the district has provided.

After her daughter was recently diagnosed with diabetes, the staff made it easy for her to visit during the school day.

She was also glad about notices sent home about allergy accommodations and a conversation with the superintendent about the proactive work of the school health and wellness committee.

“I think it’s phenomenal that they’re willing to work with me,” said Naab, who supported the budget and the two candidates running unopposed for two open board seats. “I moved here because it’s just a great school system.”

Even though Art and Diane Romanowski don’t have children, they headed into the high school to vote for the budget because they like the abundance of school activities and sports.

They live near the middle school and like seeing kids outside playing sports and having constructive things to do after school.

“If I would have done more when I was a kid, I would have stayed out of trouble,” said Art Romanowski. “It’s good to see the parents involved. It works out well for the kids.”

The retired mechanic, however, said he would vote against buying nine new school buses, a $825,000 proposition item on the ballot.

He and his wife watch the current fleet drive by their house all the time.

“I’ve seen the condition of the buses and they’re not bad,” he said.