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North Tonawanda voters wary of salary increases

North Tonawanda voters who stopped to talk Tuesday afternoon were wary of their school district's $72 million budget and almost $35,000 in raises for two senior administrators.

“It’s ridiculous to give anybody a $12,000 raise,” said Dennis Maser as he walked out of the high school gym. The sum is the proposed raise for Patrick Holesko, the executive director of educational services now making $117,000.

Also up for a raise is Superintendent Gregory Woytila whose proposed increase of $22,500 in pay would augment his current $147,500 salary.

Maser thought the ranking of North Tonawanda student performance should be higher for the money.

“We are one of the lowest rated schools in Western New York,” he said. “We’re not getting the bang for the buck.”

Rebecca Bork also rejected the budget and its salary increases.

“I don’t think they need it,” she said. “They make too much money.”

For the two openings on the school board, she chose the two incumbent women candidates Colleen Angelhow and Colleen Osborn over Thad McMurray.

“I just think women have a lot more sense,” Bork said. “They’re in the home and they’re with the kids. They know what’s going on.”

Richard Madej opposed the budget too. He also voted against the proposition for a five-year lease of not more than $2 million for 21 buses with room for 66 passengers.

“There’s going to be some hidden costs there,” he said. “Somebody’s got to maintain ‘em and clean ‘em.”

The announced retirement of 33 senior teachers should lead to budget reductions, not increases, he said.

“Why should the budget keep going up?” Madej said.

Karen Clark, a teacher, said she voted for the budget because it pays for worthy programs.

“I believe in the students,” she said. “I don’t want to see anymore cuts. I want to see some classes coming back because it benefits our kids.”

See a breakdown of North Tonawanda School District's budget:

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