Niagara Gazette

Editorials

May 19, 2014

EDITORIAL: Get out and vote on Tuesday

Niagara Gazette — Tuesday’s a pretty big day for residents throughout the area and everyone has some important decisions to make.

But as we seem to say every year, very few will make the effort, if history is any indication.

School budget votes and school board elections are being held at the three local districts and there’s a lot at stake.

All three districts — Lewiston-Porter, Niagara Falls and Niagara-Wheatfield — had a tough time arriving at the budgets residents will be voting on Tuesday. Two out of the three are looking to raise the tax levy as well.

• Lew-Port is looking at a 3.95 percent increase — staying well within New York’s tax cap.

The spending plan does cut positions in addition to raising taxes. Two retiring elementary educators won’t be replaced next year. A special education teacher would also not be replaced as the void would be filled with existing staff. What would be adjusted up is the workload of a Spanish and a home and careers teacher, who’ll go from part-time to full-time.

Just two candidates are running for two open seats on the school board.

• Niagara-Wheatfield adopted a $62.6 million spending plan that raises the tax levy 4.8 percent. In the spending plan, the elementary teaching staff will see a decrease of six full-time equivalent positions, pushing classes to a range of between 22 and 26 students in grades kindergarten through fifth. Sixth grade classes will have approximately 30 students per room, according to the plan.

Athletics will take a serious hit and provide the district $88,000. Having already ended all modified teams for middle school students, the district would eliminate boys and girls tennis, boys and girls cross country, bowling, golf, fall cheerleading and swimming.

The music programs at the middle and high schools will be reorganized next year, which would reduce 2.6 teachers and save $178,000 while continuing to provide chorus and band students the programs they need.

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