Niagara Gazette — Barstys, a former teacher in the district, has since become an administrator in the North Tonawanda district as the director of student services. His wife, Christine, is still a teacher in the district. Barstys said he believes his background in education would aid the board’s decision making and his administrative position provides insight into how budgets work. He’s also a father to a student in the district, he said.
Paretto, a city electrican, has more than 20 years experience as a union worker. Residing in LaSalle with his wife, Sue, and three children, he said he believes his experience would be invaluable in helping the district make decisions concerning its upcoming $67 million capital improvement project, which is awaiting final state approval before getting started this summer. He also wants to ensure teachers have every resource needed to provide an excellent education, he said.
Lewis, meanwhile, said he grew up in an impoverished family facing many of the tough choices children still face in 2013. He currently works for the Seneca Niagara Casino but has also spent time in a mentoring program at Harry F. Abate Elementary.
While voters will decide which candidate best reflects their interest in education, they’ll also face a difficult decision with the proposed 2013-14 school spending plan.
Adopted in March, the district is proposing spending $124 million and would need to increase its tax levy for the first time in 20 years to do so. Officials have proposed a 3 percent increase in the levy – the total tax dollars the district collects – which is below the state property tax cap figure facing Niagara Falls, which was set at 3.77 percent according to state-provided formulas.
Polls are open from noon to 9 p.m. with voters only able to vote at designated school buildings this year. If unsure where to vote, call District Clerk Ruthel Dumas to determine a location at 286-4211.Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.