Niagara Gazette

Communities

May 25, 2014

Niagara-Wheatfield election winners ready to work after another rough budget

Niagara Gazette — Aside from the first successful budget vote in three years, there were three other winners at Niagara-Wheatfield High School Tuesday.

Gina Terbot, Darren Sneed and Christopher Peters let out sighs of relief, justifying long, arduous days and nights campaigning for the right to join — or in Peters’s case, remain on — the district’s school board for the next three years.

Peters said he’s pleased with the outcome of the vote, believing the three eventual winners are exactly what the district needs in representatives.

“I’m very happy with all of the people the (voters) elected,” he said. “It’s been a difficult election, probably the hardest of the three since I’ve been here because the cuts that we had to make this year were more difficult because there’s nothing left to cut. ... hopefully we can move forward and the state can start spending some more money toward education.”

For Peters, the struggles have been non-stop since he joined the seven-member board three years ago. He won in sweeping fashion then, taking the most votes of any candidate at the time in a hotly contested election that saw three new board members assume control and immediately institute controversial changes, including overseeing the retirement of former Superintendent Carl Militello and business manager Kerin Dumphrey and the hiring of replacements Lynn Fusco and Allison Brady, respectively.

While the changes have been sweeping, Peters and the majority have had horrible luck with budgets. They attempted to override New York’s property tax levy cap in 2012 and failed. Then the May 2013 spending plan proposal for this year fell short by three votes.

Both years were successfully funded in special June elections, though the cuts have drastically altered the education offered at the district’s five schools.

Unlike three years ago, Peters isn’t the most popular person in the group. The honor falls on Terbot this year, who sneaked her way to the top by seven votes over Peters.

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