Ripley, Westfield, Gowanda fail to pass school budget

Surprising results

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian Voters turned out in large numbers Tuesday at Fredonia High School. Voters approved the 2018-19 budget 462-210. Former Middle School principal Andy Ludwig received 206 write-in votes, though Cristina Gegenshatz took the lone available school board seat with 391 votes.

Many school districts’ budgets passed without any issue Tuesday, but some didn’t.

In Ripley, the proposed 2018-19 budget totaling $9.2 million was turned down by one vote. Unofficial results posted by the Chautauqua County Board of Elections show 90 ‘yes’ votes and 91 ‘no’ votes.

Voters also denied the establishment of a capital improvements reserve fund not to exceed $500,000 (plus interest earned thereon). Voters did approve the purchase of two 65-passenger school buses not to exceed $240,000 and the fire alarm system replacement project.

The Westfield Academy and Central School’s proposed budget was also turned down by its voters. Unofficial results show the $16.7 million budget was denied with 295 voting ‘no’ and 196 voting ‘yes.’

Voters in Gowanda disapproved both the $31 million capital project, 332-494, and the $31.4 million 2018-19 school year budget, 391-442. However, the purchasing of three school buses were “yes” voted, 556-274.

Following is a breakdown of each school district:

BROCTON

Melissa Seavy and Robert Mead-Colegrove were voted to the Brocton school board with 151 and 130 votes respectively. Voters approved the 2018-19 school budget in the amount of $18,439,528 176 to 43 against. Voters also approved the authorization of a capital improvements reserve fund in a 164 to 52 vote.

CASSADAGA

Robert Main was voted to a five-year term with the Cassadaga Central School District’s board of education. He received 124 votes to Jeanne Oag’s 108. Voters approved the 2018-19 school budget of $22,273,891 in a 190 to 48 vote. Voters also approved (184 to 54) the district to purchase school buses not to exceed a cost of $297,750.

CHAUTAUQUA LAKE

Michael Ludwig (235 votes) and Amy Webb (274 votes) will serve a three-year term with the Chautauqua Lake Central School District’s board of education. Voters approved the 2018-19 school budget of $23,092,112 in a 262-85 vote.

DUNKIRK

Loretta Slaton Torain and Claudia Szczerbacki were voted in to a three-year term with the Dunkirk City School District’s board of education. Voters approved the 2018-19 school budget of $45,728,385 with a 199-83 vote; and also approved the establishment of the 2018 capital reserve fund 208-67.

FORESTVILLE

Michelle Merritt, Carol Woodward, Michael LoManto and Sylvester Cleary were voted in to a four-year term with the Forestville Central School District’s Board of Education. Voters approved three ballot propositions: 1. The 2018-19 school budget of $12,787,393 in a 193-55 vote 2. The acquisition of a school bus at an estimated maximum cost of $71,000 in a 202-45 vote; and 3. The 2018 $3,080,000 capital improvements project, 206-45.

FREDONIA

Cristina Gegenschatz was voted in for a 5-year term with the Fredonia Central School District’s board of education with 391 votes. Former Fredonia Middle School principal Andrew Ludwig received 206 write-in votes. Voters approved the 2018-19 school budget of $32,441,792 in a 462-210 vote.

Gowanda

Voters in Gowanda disapproved both the $31 million capital project, 332-494, and the $31.4 million 2018-19 school year budget, 391-442. However, the purchasing of three school buses were “yes” voted, 556-274.

Janet Vogtli (504) and Cynthia Sutherland (488) ran unopposed for the two seats on the board of education and won. The school budget was an increase of 4.73 percent or $1.4 million and would have increased the tax levy by 1.98 percent or $100,023.

The buses are two 66-passenger buses and one 30-passenger bus that will cost $299,067 and is funded through an already taxed reserve, the Vehicle Purchase Reserve Fund, thus having no tax levy impact.

The capital project originally started at $41.5 million and received criticism from the community, who questioned the necessity of the work. Then Gowanda Superintendent James Klubek headed the project and boasted its multi-faceted approach. When Interim Superintendent Dr. Robert Anderson took over, the board agreed to reduce the scope of work.

Lake Shore

Taxpayers gave the supermajority approval, which was required, to pass the 2018-19 school budget of $58,877,065 and also approved the purchase of five transportation vehicles. A supermajority is 60 percent or more and the voting result was 611-340. The budget is an increase of 1.12 percent or $651,185 from 2017-18.

The district estimated that the 1.12 percent raise will be $30 for a home assessed at $100,000.

Both Jennifer Michalec, who received 700 of votes, and Kathleen Chiavetta, with 757, won the school board seats and ran unopposed.

The transportation vehicles that were approved, 640-310, are for: three 71-passenger buses, one 30-passenger gasoline-powered school bus and one 24-passenger gasoline-powered wheel chair bus. The cost is $499,856.85 and is funded through a reserve.

North Collins

The North Collins proposed budget has been approved, 142-51, by its taxpayers. The $16.8 million budget is an increase of 2.35 percent. The voters also said OK to the purchase of transportation, custodial vehicles that will not exceed $300,000 by a vote of 158-32. That purchase is funded by the Bus & Vehicle Reserve.

Both Michelle DeCarlo and write in candidate Heather McAuley Puntillo will take the seats of the North Collins School Board.

PINE VALLEY

Shawn Howard (211 votes), Justin Smith (208 votes) and Darlene Silleman (237 votes) will serve three-year terms in the Pine Valley Central School District’s board of education. Voters approved four ballot measures: 1. The basic budget of $15,833,644 in a 212 to 67 vote; 2. The purchase of various school buses at an estimated maximum cost not to exceed $315,000 in a 226-53 vote; 3. The purchase of snow removal equipment at an estimated maximum cost not to exceed $100,000 in a 225-52 vote, and; 4. Establishment of a capital improvements reserve fund not to be greater than $1,000,000 (plus interest earned thereon) in a 199-73 vote.

RIPLEY

Voters denied the 2018-19 school budget of $9,219,270 in a 91-90 vote. Voters also denied the establishment of a capital improvements reserve fund not to exceed $500,000 (plus interest earned thereon). Voters approved the purchase of two 65-passenger school buses not to exceed $240,000 and the fire alarm system replacement project. Shaun Waters was voted in to the Ripley Central School District’s board of education.

SILVER CREEK

Greg Cole was voted to serve a 5-year term with the Silver Creek School District’s board of education. He ran unopposed and received 256 votes. Voters approved (191 to 107) the 2018-19 school budget of $24,516,388 as well as the purchase of two large school buses at a total cost of $234,061,92 in a 227 to 71 vote.

WESTFIELD

Voters turned down the 2018-19 school budget of $16,716,034, 295 votes to 196. Steve Cockram (366 votes), Deanne K. Manzella (368 votes) and Phyllis A. Hagen (364 votes) were voted in to the Westfield Central School District’s board of education.

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