Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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April 13, 2013

Tax levy to rise 2 percent

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NEWFANE - Members of the Newfane School District Board of Education will vote April 23 on a budget that would raise the 2013-14 tax levy by 2 percent.

The $33.6 million budget is a $760,000 or 2.31 percent increase in spending and would require $12.7 million from local taxes, an increase of about $250,000.

Newfane is slated to receive about $17.6 million in state aid, up about $940,000 from the 2012-13 school year. It’s about $400,000 more than what was expected, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal.

”It was an amazing gift,” said Superintendent Christine J. Tibbetts.

Like many school districts, Newfane was hit hard with increases in healthcare, the Teacher Retirement System and Employee Retirement System. Most of the increase in district spending could be attributed to contractual costs Newfane can’t control, said Trustee Frank Westgate.

Contractual increases totaled about $880,000, much higher than the $760,000 the entire budget increased by, Westgate said.

Tibbetts said the budget contains a part-time counselor position at the elementary school. The position was needed because the school was seeing “extreme behaviors” in students, the superintendent said. Currently, the school psychologist has been handling counselor work, but was being overburdened, district officials have said.

Tibbetts said the budget didn’t have much affect the classroom.

”I’m proud there hasn’t been any talk about program cuts,” she said.

In other district news, Westgate said he won’t be running for re-election next month due to personal reasons. Westgate’s term expires in June, as does fellow trustees Joe Flagler and Michele Malone.

Westgate said his decision had nothing to do with the district itself. He plans to run again at some point in the future.

Candidates have until April 22 to turn in petitions to run to the district.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.

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