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N-W budget to be slimmed

by jmaloni
Thu, Dec 9th 2010 01:00 pm
by Susan Mikula Campbell

The Niagara-Wheatfield Board of Education already is looking at budget cuts for the new year.

Several department heads made presentations at last week's board meeting, citing areas that might be cut in their budgets to meet Superintendent Carl Militello's quest for a zero budget increase.

"You will see a reduction in just about every department," Militello promised. "We all need economic relief."

The district should be able to continue to function well, even if the state budget crisis means mid-year cuts to anticipated state funding, he said. He noted that the district's current policy of not replacing retirees unless necessary already has meant considerable savings.

The mid-school-year retirement of two administrators was announced -- Paul Sikora, director of human resources, with 12 years of service, and Terry Eisenman, transportation supervisor, with eight years of service. Sikora will not be replaced; his duties are shared with others. Michael Dallessandro was named to replace Eisenman. Dallessandro has 22 years experience in transportation, 12 in Kenmore and 10 in the Lakeshore School District.

Resident Russell Brumby said the district needs to use cuts and savings to reduce taxes, not just let them stay the same. He suggested that the board not give raises to teachers, adding that his research shows N-W's ranking in the state is 339th, lower than half of the districts statewide. "That to me is a disgrace."

Resident Rosemary Warren also chided the district for the handling of its business. "I do better at my own home," she said.

In other matters:

  • An increase in the price of school lunch, starting in January, was unanimously approved. The elementary lunch price will be $1.85, up from $1.65. Secondary level lunch will be $1.95, up from $1.75. Breakfast will be $1.50, up from $1.25.
  • Eisenman reported that a big problem is developing with student discipline on school buses. In the past month, he said, two drivers have walked away from their buses. His personal opinion is that unruly students should lose bus privileges, he said.

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