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District-by-district tally of budgets, BOE elections
By Terry Duffy
Voters in Western Niagara County joined with those from throughout New York on Tuesday in approving school budgets despite the ongoing inflation and economic challenges facing the state.
Budgets were approved in the Lewiston-Porter, Niagara Wheatfield, Niagara Falls, Newfane, North Tonawanda, Starpoint and Wilson school districts by significant margins. The results mimicked trends seen statewide where budgets were approved in 534 school districts across New York and defeated in nine others, according to a report by New York State United Teachers.
“New Yorkers again showed that they believe public schools unite our communities. Voters came out to support investing in our children and educators. They also supported school board candidates committed to bringing people together through strong and well-run public schools, not those who stoke division. When local voters prioritize supporting public schools, everybody wins,” said Melinda Person, president of NYSUT.
In unofficial results reported by area school districts as of Tuesday evening:
•Lewiston-Porter voters approved the district’s $54.539 million budget by a count of 519 to 176. On the Board of Education, candidate results for three at-large Board of Education seats were:
√ 3-year term: Jack G. Waugaman III, 554 votes
√ 3-year term: Joseph J. Palermo, 531 votes
√ 2-year term: Danielle M. Mullen, 526 votes
The official results will be approved at the May 22 Board of Education meeting.
•Voters in Niagara Wheatfield approved the district’s $84.470 million budget plan by a 505-205 margin. Elected to the three open seats on the Board of Education were Michael Lee, 460 votes; John Forcucci, 430 votes; and Jason Myers, 425 votes. BOE candidate High Burnam finished fourth with 375 votes.
•In the City of Niagara Falls School District, voters passed the $181.504 million budget, 1,200 to 317. On the Board of Education side, winners for the two open seats included incumbents Anthony Peretto with 901 votes, and Michael Capizzi Jr. with 726. Other results were Deborah Hicks, 568 votes; Beverly Callen, 335; and Portland Jackson, 319.
•In the Newfane Central School District, voters approved a $39.792 million budget by a 406-207 mark. A proposition for establishment of a new capital improvements reserve fund won approval by a 423-187 vote. On the Board of Education side, results for the two open seats were Santo Tomasine, 339 votes; and Melinda Bower, 280.
•In the North Tonawanda School District, the $85.125 million budget was approved by a count of 410-107. On the Board of Education side, incumbent members Matthew Kennedy and Peter Chenier Jr. were both reelected by counts of 450 and 430 votes, respectively, for the two open seats.
•In the Starpoint Central School District, voters approved a $64.954 million budget by a 1,089-432 count. The district’s $69.820 million capital project resolution was approved, 1,069-450. On the Board of Education side, results were Shawn Reister, 932; Jeffrey Duncan, 929; and Kelly Swann, 856 votes.
•Wrapping up, in the Wilson Central School District, voters approved the district’s $29.207 plan by a count of 233-88. On the Board of Education side, the numbers were incumbents Timothy F. Kropp, 272 votes; and R.J. Seager, 247 votes. Nathan Was finished third with 254 votes.