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School district budget votes today

School Boards Association President Timothy Kremer
School Boards Association President Timothy Kremer

By Mark Scott

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-902467.mp3

Buffalo, NY – School districts across New York will be holding budget votes Tuesday.

District administrators have put together spending plans without knowing how much state aid they will receive next year. Timothy Kremer is director of the State School Boards Association. He says most school districts in New York are planning teacher layoffs -- that as many as 14,000 could lose their jobs in the coming year.

Kremer says on average, districts in New York are increasing their spending by a scant 1.4 percent.

"In this punishing fiscal climate, school boards tried to strike a balance between maintaining educational quality while keeping in mind the very real concerns of local taxpayers," Kremer said.

Here in the Buffalo-Niagara region, Akron would hike spending the most -- by 6.3 percent. At the other end of the scale, Royalton-Hartland is reducing its spending by just over 5.25 percent. Besides budgets, voters will be electing school board members.

"School districts are trying to keep spending down by tapping into reserve funds and negotiating contract concessions with employee unions," Kremer said. "But many boards were still forced to cut important programs and lay off valuable employees."

Click the audio player above to hear Mark Scott's interview with Timothy Kremer now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.