Niagara Gazette

Local News

June 11, 2013

Niagara-Wheatfield breaks down tax hits in $62.4M budget up for vote next week


Niagara Gazette — One resident questioned the district on why only one clerical job will be lost to the cuts when teaching positions and aides were eliminated. Interim business official Richard Hitzges said the district doesn't have any more extra clerical positions to remove.

"There's been reductions across the entire school organization," Hitzges said. "In previous years, we've cut our clerical staff. In the administration building, there are empty offices."

Another topic broached by residents was the state's pay-to-play ban, which dictates the school district must fully fund a sport's participation if it chooses to provide it during the year.

Sabo, himself a girl's soccer coach at North Tonawanda High School, said the rules aren't friendly to the district, but protect it from litigation.

"What if you make the team but (another person) doesn't," Sabo said. "But you both had to pay for trying out. (That person) can't recoup that money at all, and didn't make the team. So (they) sue to get it back and it becomes litigation.

"Trust me, there's a lot of things we'd love to make up our own rules for to do our own thing. But we have to follow what New York state says."

With all the talking done, voters will have the last say in the matter, as polls open from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the adult learning center of the district's high school, 2292 Saunders Settlement Road, Lewiston.

If it's turned down like the one proposed last month, the district will be forced to adopt a contingency budget, which mandates the tax levy equal the current year's figure. A lack of an increase, officials said, would force the district to make $1.3 million in cuts beyond the ones already proposed.

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