Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 15, 2013

Falls school board candidates spar over testing, taxes and residency requirements


Niagara Gazette — On the issue of the first proposed increase in school taxes in 19 years, all the candidates except Lewis said they supported the tax hike. 

The issue of requiring district employees to live in the Falls was a little more divisive. Paretto, Dobbs, Gawel, King and Lewis all supported the requirement.

Barstys said he supported requiring new employees to live in the district, but suggested that after 10 years of employment they be allowed to move outside the city.

The candidates divided deeply over school district rankings, published every year by a local business newspaper. The rankings are based largely on tests scores and place the Falls 92nd out of 97 local school districts.

“I think we should be concerned,” Dobbs said. “But the rankings aren’t fair rankings.”

Dobbs complained the rankings compare “apples to oranges” saying a “poor” district like the Falls is stacked up against more “affluent” districts.

Gawel shot back, “This is why I’m running (for the school board). All I hear is excuses (for underperforming schools).”

Barstys, an administrator in the North Tonawanda School District, agreed with Dobbs. He said he thought the rankings were flawed.

“These are not excuses,” Barstys said. “(The factors affecting test scores) are facts.”

Paretto jumped on the use of standardized tests for students and the implementation of standardized teacher evaluations. He opposes both.

“(Teacher assessments are) hammering people who have a right to make a living,” Paretto said. “It’s a bogus test. A teacher has so much to worry about, he shouldn’t have to worry about being in the unemployment line.”

All the candidates also said they opposed the expansion of charter schools in the district.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results