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School budgets pass across WNY

Despite concerns voters would reject proposed school budgets because almost all of them went up in spending and property taxes, voters across Western New York approved all budgets.

A budget system which looked pretty bad early this year benefited from the traditional increase in state aid and from promised rebates to taxpayers due in the fall.

That's true even in places like Lackawanna which balanced its budget with heavy cuts in special education; or Niagara-Wheatfield where the budget carried a tax hike of nearly five-percent.

Some districts held down costs by continuing cuts in staff, teachers, sports and music.

Most districts are also dealing with dropping reserves and dropping student numbers, even as the budgets rise.

In Hamburg, which has seen the school board torn apart by a vicious feud, voters elected two new members and approved a budget with taxes rising more than four percent.

Voters in neighboring Frontier decided to elect a board member barely out of high school, 19-year-old UB student Davis Podkulski.
 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.