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LISTEN ON DEMAND: THIS AMERICAN LIFE tribute to the 10 killed in the Tops Market shootings.

Two school districts decide on budgets Tuesday


Proposed spending plans for Niagara-Wheatfield and Cheektowaga-Sloan were rejected the first time around and steep cuts are likely  if the budgets are voted down again.  

With Niagara-Wheatfield's tax cap set at 7 percent,  voters May 15 soundly rejected the first proposed budget that came with a 9.9% tax increase. Since then, the school board cut $1.4 million, including teachers, staff, administrators, and school buses.

Niagara-Wheatfield Interim Superintendant Kerin Dumphrey says if the budget goes down again, class sizes could increase.  

"It will be a decision of the board as to whether they want to squeeze class sizes even higher or whether they want to cut some of the programs the community holds dear like sports, music and kindergarten. There's nowhere else to turn," Dumphrey said.

The state's cap is said to be 2 percent, but actually varies from district to district based on a complicated formula.

After Cheektowaga-Sloan's 1.25 percent tax increase was rejected school spending was cut by another $30,000. Tax rates in Niagara-Wheatfield and Cheektowaga-Sloan vary by municipality. 

Polls in both districts open at noon Tuesday.