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All Local School Budgets, Propositions Approved By Voters

David Howard votes at Jefferson Middle School during the 2021-22 school budget vote Tuesday. P-J photos by Dennis Phillips

Jamestown voters have overwhelmingly approved an $86.5 million capital project — more than half of which will be spent at Jamestown High School.

Voters have also voted a new face onto the Board of Education, as Frank Galeazzo (344 votes) joined incumbent Nina Karbacka (504 votes) secured the two open seats on the board. Krysta Rives received 267 votes and Gina Sink received 148 votes.

Voters also approved the district’s $89,879,178 budget for 2021-22 by a 585-92 vote. The budget has no program cuts and no tax levy increase while adding a community navigator, two new school psychologists, an increase in contracted social workers, a reading and literacy coordinator, music equipment, music travel, athletic equipment, athletic uniforms and technology equipment. The community navigator is a new position to help provide a connection between JPS’ Latino population and the district. Due to language barriers or other reasons, JPS’ Hispanic population has expressed a desire to have a person who has a solid connection to the Latino population and can speak Spanish, to act as a liaison between the schools and the community.

The $86.5 million project does not need any additional spending from Jamestown taxpayers. State aid covers 98% of the project’s cost while the district will use $1.2 million from its capital reserve fund and $1,070,000 in remaining state EXCEL aid from several years ago.

More than half ($44,736,000) of the overall proposed project being spent at Jamestown High School while work will also be done at Persell Middle School, Fletcher Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Ring Elementary School, Tech Academy and the district bus garage. There will also be district-wide information technology upgrades at all Jamestown schools.

The voter registration and voting area at Jefferson Middle School during the 2021-22 school budget vote Tuesday.

There were no surprises locally during Tuesday’s vote, with all budgets and resolutions placed before voters passing.

¯ Bemus Point — voters approved a $15,588,352 budget that increases spending by $147.988 and increases the district’s tax levy by $97,569 to $9,054,864 by a 307-110 vote. The tax rate is expected to increase 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The budget saves about $48,000 through retirements and elimination of two positions through attrition, in special education costs and a decrease in BOCES costs. Increases are seen in office needs and pupil transportation. Voters also approved the purchase two new school buses by a 333-90 vote and the creation of a Capital Improvements Reserve Fund to pay the local share of future building projects by a 318-106 vote. Three candidates were elected to the Board of Education: Beth Olson (324 votes), Shawn Hricko (245 votes) and Margaret Spence (219 votes). Jason Yohe received 181 votes.

¯ Cassadaga Valley — a $24,713,411 budget that increases spending by $769,514 to $5,456,713 was approved by voters, 87-29. The budget includes a $100,000 capital outlay project, increases spending on technology for students. Diane Ellsworth and Marcus Clark are running for two seats on the school board. Voters also approved a $377,526 proposition by an 87-27 vote to purchase a 60-passenger school bus that will be financed, a 42-passenger school bus with a wheelchair lift to be purchased with reserve funds, a 24-passenger school bus with a wheelchair lift to be paid for with reserve funds and a 5- to 7-passenger transportation vehicle to be purchased with reserve funds.

¯ Chautauqua Lake — voters approved $23,600,585 budget that increases spending $398,238 with a tax levy of $12,493,744, an increase of $177,356 (1.44%), by a 224-63 vote. In a close race for two Board of Education seats, Michael Ludwig (199 votes) and Amy Webb (182 votes) were elected with Mary Lee Talbot (162 votes) finishing third.

¯ Clymer — voters passed a $11,492,368 budget by a 142-34 vote. The budget increases spending $131,227 while increasing the tax levy by $93,719 to $4,787,950. Administrative spending will decrease by $190,596 while spending on programs will increase $312,480. Additions to the program include esports, girls soccer, computer science electives and counseling and student support services. District residents also passed a proposition to create a capital reserve fund for school vehicles by a 142-33 vote. There is one school board position, with Ed Mulkearn receiving 123 votes.

¯ Falconer — voters approved the proposed $25,285,440 budget by a 99-16 vote. The budget increases spending $2,190,741 (9.4%) but does not increase the tax levy. Most of that increase comes in costs for debt service on the district’s building project that wasn’t part of last year’s school budget. Krissta Swanson was elected to a five-year term on the Board of Education.

¯ Frewsburg — voters approved the proposed $18,985,983 budget by a vote of 112-59. The budget increases spending $923,139 (5.11%) though the district’s tax levy will increase $97,184 (1.71%) to $5,794,487. The budget includes a $100,000 capital outlay for new doors in the middle and high school, with the district receiving $94,600 back in the 2022-23 school year from the state. Voters approved the purchase of two buses at a maximum cost of $266,000 by a 119-52 vote; a $7 million capital improvement project, of which $855,000 will be paid from the district’s capital reserve fund, by a 118-54 vote. District voters also approved a proposition to establish a capital reserve fund by a 132-40 vote. Larry Lodestro and Chad Chitester were elected to the board with 127 and 144 votes, respectively, while Donald Dove received 41 votes.

¯ Panama — voters overwhelmingly approved the budget by a 123-20 vote. The spending plan increases spending by $29,379 to $12,933,775 without raising property taxes. Katie Braun and Steven Morgan were elected to positions on the Board of Education, with incumbent board president Donald Butler finishing third with 68 votes and Summer Wolcott finishing fourth with 50 votes.

¯ Pine Valley — voters approved the budget by a 95-30 vote. Spending will increase $674,406 to $16,437,677, though the proposed tax levy increases only $33,766 to $3,410,344. Additions to the budget include salary and benefits for 3- and 4-year-old universal pre-kindergarten teachers, a special education teacher, furniture and curriculum for the universal pre-kindergarten program, two school bus purchases, a transfer to the school lunch program to offset community eligibility participation and provide free breakfast and lunch to all students, start an eSports team, unified sports programs. Administrative spending decreases by 7% while the budget for student programs increases 7.28%. Rose Kruszka (103 votes) and Darlene Silliman (112 votes) were elected to the school board, with write-in votes to determine the third at-large position on the board.

¯ Randolph — the $20,477,498 budget plan was approved by voters 136-8. The budget increases spending $285,388 while increasing the tax levy $64,546 to $4,675,060. Taxes haven’t increased in a decade, district officials said, and a property reassessment dropped tax rates to pre-2009 levels. There are two open positions on the school board, with candidates Eric Brown (137 votes) and incumbent Janet Huntington (117 votes) on the ballot.

¯ Ripley — voters approved the budget by a 93-25 vote. The budget includes a $279,000 increase in spending to $9,746,366 while not increasing the district’s $1,862,971 tax levy. District officials said $200,000 of the spending increase is part of the district’s construction project and will be paid from the capital reserve. A proposition to purchase school buses was approved 90-28 while a proposition to establish a capital reserve fund was approved 89-28. Shaun Waters received 106 votes to be elected to the school board.

¯ Sherman — voters approved the $10,6388,560 budget proposal by an 85-50 vote. The budget increases spending by $358,226 and increases taxes by $83,479 to $2,804,823. Spending is driven largely by contractual salary increases, and district officials note the school board cut spending by $257,220 in the 2020-21 budget when state aid was uncertain due to COVID-19. Voters will approved a proposition to two 64-passenger school buses for 286,460 by a 96-40 vote and approved the sale of land on First Street, Sherman, by an 81-55 vote. The land is known as the Nature Center to the village of Sherman for $1 so the village can complete a water sewage project that will divert water away from village properties. Emily Reynolds received 111 votes for a five-year term on the Board of Education.

¯ Southwestern — voters approved the district’s $31,651,060 budget proposal by a 190-59 vote. The budget increases spending by $1,622,787, though that comes with a proposed tax increase of $166,907 to $13,519,457. Much of the spending increase is capital spending that is offset by additional building aid. Among the district’s initiatives for this year’s budget are additional professional development for staff, a robust summer school and after school program for 2021-22 and revising the district’s Response to Intervention plan. Voters also approved a proposition to spend $426,300 on three 66-passenger school buses by a 195-54 vote. Incumbents Edward Brooks, James Butler and Lisa Yaggie are running for the Board of Education. Yaggie received 211 votes, Brooks received 196 votes and Butler received 194 votes.

¯ Westfield — a $16,956,770 budget proposal was approved by a 388-104 vote. The budget increases spending by $428,431 while increasing the property tax levy by $69,676 to $6,175,602. The budget allows for equipment upgrades and new classroom technology, doesn’t cut any programs, student services or extracurricular activities. There are also four candidates running for the school board: Celia Molitor (364 votes), Phyllis Hagen (339 votes) and Deanne Manzella (337 votes) were elected while Braiden McElhaney received 240 votes.

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