A hotly contested Bemus Point Central School budget proposal for the 2013-14 academic year was voted down by its community members Tuesday.
Although the numbers were close, the nays outweighed the yays 227-215. However, a proposition in the form of a school bus amendment did pass, 251-193.
The failure of the district's budget proposal was not a complete surprise, as it had recently received criticism during a public hearing earlier this month. During the budget hearing, administrative staff and a handful of community residents-the majority of which were former Bemus Point board members-debated a proposed 5.17 percent spending increase in the amount of $645,175 over a two-hour period.
As for board elections, the Bemus Point board of education will welcome back incumbent Lisa Allenson as well as Barry Swanson, both of whom will serve three-year terms.
Bemus Point was the only district in the county that did not pass its budget. The Jamestown Public Schools district successfully passed its budget in a 320-68 vote, while a school bus amendment for the lease and/or purchase of eight vehicles was passed in a 302-79 vote. The budget called for a 1.86 percent spending decrease, down to $75,369,680, and proposed no change to the district's $14,641,567 tax levy from last year.
According to Joe DiMaio, president of the board, the vote results reflect the community's observation that the district is making the best of its not-so-ideal situation.
"I was very pleased," said DiMaio. "We worked hard on what we don't think is a good situation from the state, and that's what we had to work with. We tried to do what's best for the kids, while taking into account what the taxpayers have to go through. The fact that it was a low turnout shows that most people weren't too worried about it."
He added: "I was really pleased with the bus (amendment results). Sometimes you delay some of those things, and it only ends up costing you more in the long run."
The JPS Board of Education will also welcome back incumbents DiMaio and Patrick Slagle for three-year terms, with 304 and 282 votes, respectively.
The Falconer Central School district's budget of $21,647,772, and a 3.45 tax increase, passed in a 167-59 vote. Incumbent Todd Beckerink will remain with the board of education in a five-year term after receiving 167 votes, and Christopher Hannon earned a one-year seat with 160 votes.
"On behalf of the board of education and myself, we're very pleased with the support from our community," said Steve Penhollow, Falconer superintendent. "They understand the educational and fiscal challenges that face us. We've tried to be very clear, honest and transparent as to what we're trying to achieve in the high quality education that we provide to our kids. To have the support of the community in the direction that we're taking to educate their children is a huge vote of confidence for the board of education and the jobs that they do to represent the community and our kids."
Frewsburg Central School's budget, and a proposition to purchase two new school buses, were both approved in 153-95 and 159-74 votes, respectively. Three incumbents of the board of education will return in three-year terms: Randall Wiltsie, Janet Black and Eric Wright. Jason Ruhlman will join the board for a one-year term.
"We tried to be conscientious about the budget that we were proposing to the public," said Danielle O'Connor, Frewsburg superintendent. "We came out with a 2.1 percent tax levy (increase), and stayed below the tax cap, which was 2.7 percent. We're very pleased that the budget passed, and we appreciate the support of our community."
O'Connor also said that the budget includes the reduction of 1.4 full-time equivalent teaching positions.
In Mayville, the Chautauqua Lake Central School district passed its $19,535,232 budget in a 222-77 vote. The budget includes a tax levy increase of 3.72 percent. The board elections saw incumbents Timothy Hull and Kim Weborg-Benson retaining their seats, with respective votes of 195 and 179.
With a vote of 324-126, residents of the Southwestern Central School district approved their district's budget in the amount of $25,857,975, which also included a 2.44 tax levy increase. A second proposition for the purchase of school buses and related equipment also passed 323-124. Incumbent William Burk retained his seat on the board of education, earning a three-year term with 327 votes.
The Pine Valley Central School district's voters approved their $15,019,537 budget, and a 3 percent tax increase, by a vote of 180-104. A vehicle purchase proposition in the amount of $336,538 was also approved 159-125. Additionally, a third proposition entitling an ex officio student representative to participate in board meetings was approved 197-82. Incumbents Lawrence Zollinger, Jo Ann Anderson and Janie Waag retained their seats on the board of education, each with three-year terms.
Ripley residents approved a 1.75 percent spending decrease in the Ripley Central School district budget proposal of $8,370,065, as well as a 4.08 percent tax decrease. The budget passed in a 205-113 vote, while a school bus amendment was passed in a 204-115 vote. Frederick Krause will return to the board of education in a three-year term, doing so with 177 votes, while Paul McCutcheon's 211 votes will allow him to serve a three-year term in the seat vacated by Nancy Rowe.
In Sinclairville, the Cassadaga Valley Central School district received positive feedback from its residents, who approved a 1.98 percent tax increase and a $19,967,698 budget through a 232-82 vote. The district's proposition to purchase two new 60-passenger school buses and related equipment, at an estimated cost of $110,000, was also passed 219-88. Jeanne Oag was re-elected to the board of education for a five-year term with 233 votes, and Daniel Pavlock earned a two-year term with 165 votes.
The Panama Central School district now has an official $12,198,067 budget after it was passed in a 127-40 vote. The budget called for no change to the district's $3,461,172 tax levy. The district was also authorized to spend up to $90,000 for the purchase of a new 66-passenger school bus in a 129-38 vote. Incumbents Robert Delahoy and Gregory Hudson each received five-year terms on the board of education with 139 and 135 votes, respectively.
A landslide 209-31 vote will usher in a $19,728,112 budget for the Randolph Central School district, which managed a 2.94 percent tax decrease for its residents. Three three-year terms on the board of education were all earned by incumbents Michael Evans, Daniel Jackson and Julie Milliman.
The budget, along with four other propositions proposed by the Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School district, were all passed. The budget proposed a spending amount of $23,035,766, and a 1.66 percent tax increase. The propositions included the purchase of buses, an increase in the amount to libraries, the appointment of a high school student to serve on the board of education and an at-large election. The board elections saw Eric Pritchard and Christopher Shattuck elected to serve three-year terms on the board.
The Salamanca City Central School district's proposed budget of $25,369,136, with no change to its tax levy, was passed in a 171-50 vote. A proposition for the establishment of a capital reserve fund was also passed 134-59. Kenneth Nary and incumbent Lance Hoag were both elected to serve five-year terms on the board of education with 157 and 172 votes, respectively.
The $10.95 million budget at Ellicottville Central School passed by a 186-50 margin. The school bus proposition, which will allow the board to levy an additional $31,000 to lease two 66-passenger buses for each of the next five years, was approved 186-51. Voters also gave the go ahead for the board to expend $28,500 in tax money to support the Ellicottville Memorial Library. That resolution passed 157-80. Incumbent Roger Spell and William Murphy were elected to five-year terms and Leonard Zlockie was elected to the four-year term.
Budget vote information for the Clymer Central School and Sherman Central School districts were unavailable at press time.