The votes are in

Local schools have budget voted on Tuesday

OBSERVER Photo by Rebecca Cuthbert First-time voter Emily Gawronski signs in with her grandmother, Board of Elections worker Cheryl Gawronski, who has taught her family by example about the importance of voting as a civic duty.

Area schools held budget votes Tuesday, with several secondary propositions and open board of education seats also on the ballots. While several of the candidates were incumbents, voters were faced with a few challengers’ names in the booths, too. And now, after a long season of budget presentations and campaigning, results are in, though they remain unofficial until confirmed by the Board of Elections.

Brocton Central School

Brocton Central School District proposed a budget of $17,836,171 for the 2017-18 school year, an increase of $368,090, or 2.11 percent, over the 2016-17 school year. The budget passed.

Only one board seat was up for election this year. That will be filled by Steve Smith, the incumbent, who won with a landslide 227 votes. This is a five-year term, which begins July 1.

There were no additional propositions.

Cassadaga Valley Central School

Cassadaga Valley Central School District proposed a budget of $21,110,257 for the 2017-18 school year, an increase of 4.65 percent, over the 2016-17 school year. The budget passed.

Incumbent William Carlson ran unopposed for a five-year term, winning the seat.

Voters were asked to vote on a proposition to purchase three school buses and one mini van, to be financed over five years with a 90 percent reimbursement from the state. They were also asked to vote on the establishment of a capital improvements reserve fund to finance future capital projects up to $950,000.

The proposition to purchase vehicles passed; and the capital improvements reserve fund will be established.

Chautauqua Lake Central School

Voters were asked to approve the proposed budget of $22,902,956 for the 2017-2018 year, an increase of $862,461, or 3.91 percent. The budget passed.

Three school board seats were up for vote, as well. Candidates were Jay Baker, Thomas Jordan, Mary Lee Talbot, Deborah Cross-Fuller and Travis Bensink. Baker, Cross-Fuller and Talbot ran as incumbents. The winners of the seats are Jay Baker, Mary Lee Talbot and Travis Besinik.

Dunkirk City School District

A slump in NRG Energy’s payment in lieu of taxes was responsible for the Dunkirk City School District’s proposal to bump up the tax levy in its 2017-18 budget.

The proposed budget came in at $43,429,994, an increase of nearly 7 percent — primarily due to the insertion of a $100,000 aidable capital outlay project; $536,000 for a BOCES capital project, which is also aidable; and salary and benefit increases.

Voters passed the budget.

For the school board election, two candidates ran for four seats, meaning two seats will be decided by write-in votes, the results of which are not yet available. Terms expired for Board President David Damico, Adam Reisenweber, Anthony Bautista and Robert Bankoski. Damico and Reisenweber ran for re-election.

The three highest vote-getters will earn full, three-year terms, while the person who comes in fourth will earn a two-year term on the board.

Forestville Central School

Forestville Central School District proposed a budget of $12,576,393 for the 2017-18 school year, an increase of $522,439, or 4.3 percent, over the 2016-17 school year. The budget passed.

There was only one seat up for a vote on the board of education. Incumbent Bruce Ellis ran unopposed for his seat, and as expected, will continue to serve the students of Forestville.

Voters were also asked to authorize the purchase of one 65-passenger bus, one 20-passenger bus, and one van, at a cost not to exceed a total of $205,000 and financed over five years, with 80 percent of the total expected back from the state in aid. Voters decided that those vehicles will be purchased.

Fredonia Central School

The Fredonia Central School District’s proposed 2017-18 budget constituted a nearly 3 percent spending increase, as well as a slight tax bump — that meant a total of $31,818,588, with the extimated tax levy coming in at $15,822,024, an increase of $210,000 or 1.35 percent. The budget was passed by voters.

School Board President Michael Bobseine and Board Vice President David Giambrone sought to retain their seats for another five years. With no challengers, both men will continue to be a vital part of the district’s school board.

A proposition to establish a capital reserve fund was also presented; that proposition was passed by voters.

Gowanda Central School

Gowanda Central School District proposed a budget of $30,025,326 for the 2017-18 school year, an increase from last year’s $29,938,210. That represented a proposed tax levy increase is 1.39 percent, or an additional $69,255. The budget passed.

Three seats were available on the school board, with Mark Nephew running as an incumbent and Heidi John, Barbara Weston and Dana Szalay challenging. The three seats went to Mark Nephew, Barbara Weston and Dana Szalay.

Voters decided on two additional propositions, as well. When asked to approve a modification of the vehicle purchase reserve to set the standards of the reserve, voters said yes. When asked if the district could purchase a 66-passenger vehicle from the reserve, the purchase was approved by voters.

Lake Shore Central

Lake Shore Central School District proposed a $58,225,880 2017-18 budget, which showed an increase of $1,718,119, or 3.04 percent. The proposed tax levy went up 1.20 percent, or $204,656. The budget was approved by district voters.

The district also asked voters to approve three additional proposition — a purchase of five new school buses. The districted noted that the money received from Transportation Aid and sale of older buses would fully fund the purchase and savings would come with increased fuel economy and reduced repairs. Voters decided the district could make the purchase.

Proposition three was the capital construction project part one, with proposition four being part two. Both parts were passed.

Two seats were up for the board of education and the two on the ballot both won. Carla Thompson and Michael Franey will be on the board for three-year terms.

North Collins Central School

North Collins Central School District proposed a 2017-18 budget of $16,434,726, an increase of .52 percent. The proposed tax levy went up .99 percent, while the estimated tax rate per thousand was up to $22.95 per thousand of assessed valuation from last year’s $22.73. The budget was passed.

Two seats were up for vote, with two candidates running for those positions: Shannon McGrath-Locking and Lisa Petrus. They will be serving on the school board.

The district brought three additional propositions to the ballot. One was to acquire a vehicle that would not exceed $350,000, with funds coming from the bus and vehicle reserve. That was approved by voters. The second was to establish another bus and vehicle capital reserve fund, which was passed; and the last was to establish a 2017 capital reserve fund for construction, repair, capital improvements and equipment, which voters passed.

Pine Valley

Pine Valley Central School proposed a budget of $16,333,281 for the upcoming academic year, up 4.11 percent from 2016-2017. The budget passed.

There were three additional propositions on the ballot, as well.

Proposition No. 2 asked for a “student representative” to sit on the board of education as an “ex officio” and non-voting member. This proposition passed. Proposition No. 3 asked voters to reduce the number of seats on the school board from nine to seven. Voters decided there shall still be nine seats on the board. Proposition No. 4 asked voters to establish a capital reserve fund for snow removal equipment. Voters passed this proposal.

Five board of education seats were up for re-election, with three candidates being elected to three-year terms and two candidates being elected to one-year terms.

The five candidates were, in the order in which they were listed on the ballot, Sherry Gruszynski, Christie Lokietek, Rex Butcher, Jacquelyn Smuda and Jeffrey Chase. The top three vote-getters winning three-year terms are Jeffrey Chase, Jaquelyn Smuda, and Christie Lkietek; and the fourth- and fifth-place candidates earning one-year positions areSherry Gruszynski and Rex butcher.


Voters in the Ripley school district decided whether or not to pass the proposed budget for 2017-2018 of $9,154,039. It did not entail any increase in the tax levy; the figure actually represented an overall decrease of $63,407 from the current budget. Voters passed the budget.

A second proposition was also on the ballot. Proposition No. 2 asked voters for permission to purchase a new school bus for a total cost of $118,172. Voters decided the bus would be purchased.

Two board seats were up for grabs, with current Board President Robert Bentley and current board member Ted Rickenbrode running for re-election to three-year terms. Both men will continue to serve on the school board.

Silver Creek Central School

Silver Creek Central School proposed a 2017-2018 budget of $23,143,821, reflecting a decrease of 3.22 percent, ($770,762). The budget passed.

Proposition No. 2 asked for an amendment to the capital reserve fund to increase it by $2,400,000 plus earned interest; and to extend the life of the reserve 10 years, to May 2027. It was passed by voters. Proposition No. 3 asked voters for authorization to spend $224,424 from the vehicle reserve on two buses. Votes approved this.

One school board seat was up for a vote, with incumbent and school board veteran Marjorie Foxton winning back her seat for another round.

Westfiled Academy and Central School

Westfield Central School District proposed a budget of $15,881,650 for the 2017-18 school year, which reflected an increase of $29,497, or 0.18 percent, over the 2016-17 school year. Voters approved the budget.

There were two board vacancies; incumbents Marie Edwards and Brenda Backus re-ran for three-year terms. As they ran unopposed, both women will continue to serve on the board of education.

OBSERVER Staff Writers Rebecca Cuthbert, Amanda Dedie and Andrew Kuczkowski contributed to this report.