Niagara Wheatfield District Comes up with New Budget Proposal

10:43 PM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Courtesy: Associated Press

WHEATFIELD, N.Y. -- The Niagara Wheatfield School Board will ask voters to approve a budget with a 4.5% tax levy increase in June.

This move came after voters defeated a higher tax increase by just four votes Tuesday night. This smaller increase means the district will have to come up with an additional $430,000 to cut from the budget.

Earlier this year, the board discussed cutting kindergarten as a way to save money.

Wednesday night, the board said full-day kindergarten would be safe next school year no
matter what. Instead, administrators will cut support staff positions and a team of middle school teachers if this latest budget proposal is approved. The staff cuts would push middle school class sizes to 30 students.

People got very frustrated Wednesday night with community members who did not show up to vote May 21, and that led to a heated exchange.

"But the parents in this school district do not care about their kids' education," said school board member Chris Peters.

The audience booed his remarks.

"Then, why are we not having parents to show up to vote," Peters went on to say.

Later in the meeting, Peters clarified his statement to mean that he was not talking about the parents at the meeting.

If the budget fails June 18, a contingency budget will be used. That would keep taxes flat and would also mean that kindergarten could eventually go half day, music and sports programs could get cut and on top of that, the district would have to find an additional $487,000 to cut.

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