Niagara-Wheatfield school budget passesby jmaloni
by Susan Mikula Campbell
Niagara-Wheatfield's second vote on its $62.4 million 2013-14 school budget was successful Tuesday night.
The vote was a resounding 2,402 yes and 1,795 no, a far cry from last month's vote on a $62.7 million budget that failed by three votes, 1,601 no to 1,598 yes.
A total of 4,198 voters showed up at the polls inside the high school Adult Learning Center, compared to 3,290 voters last month.
District Clerk Robin Vertino said the turnout was the largest she has ever seen.
"To the best of my knowledge, the vote was the highest in the history of the district (since 1955)," she said.
"It was great to see that kind of a turnout," said interim Superintendent James Knowles. "We really do appreciate the number of people who came out to vote (both for and against the budget).
"We are extremely happy that voters approved of our budget," Knowles said. "If it had not passed, it would have been very difficult for the district, because we would have had to find $1.3 million more to cut."
If the budget had been voted down, the district would have had a contingency budget, with funds going back to what they were in the previous year.
Newly hired Superintendent of Schools Lynn Fusco will be starting July 1, and although there's still plenty of work to be done, when she takes over, Knowles said, it won't be as difficult as dealing with a contingency budget.
The approved budget includes full-day kindergarten and the same sports program as the current school year. Modified sports were cut from the past year's budget.