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West Valley school board members to meet after budget rejection

The West Valley Central School District is one of only a handful in Western New York where voters rejected proposed budgets. Monday evening, the school board there will meet for the first time since its spending plan was rejected.

The proposed budget for the West Valley School District would have increased spending by less than a percentage point and would have raised taxes by two percent, lower than the average approximately three percent increases among other school districts in Cattaraugus County. 

Orlando Perez, a property owner who actively follows the business of the school board, says it wasn't the numbers that led voters to reject the budget. Rather, he suggests, it was frustration with school leadership.

"It has everything to do with lack of transparency from the board of board of education as well as the administration," Perez said. "It has to do with a climate that's been created by this board that has pushed residents away."

Perez suggested that climate often times may feel like a "police state." WBFO reached out to the office of Superintendent Eric Lawton early Friday afternoon for comment but we were advised he had been out for the day.

Meanwhile, the district recently commissioned the firm Castallo and Silky to study the potential effectof annexing the district with either Ellicottville or Springville-Griffith Institute. Enrollment in the West Valley District is approximate 230 children, grades kindergarten through 12.

The firm is scheduled to present its findings at a June 21 meeting.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.