Tonawanda News

Opinion

May 19, 2013

OUR VIEW: Local school budgets deserve passage

Tonawanda News — This Tuesday, voters across the state will head to the polls in fewer numbers than just about any election there is — and yet to make a decision that is arguably more important than who fills any political seat.

School budgets will go before voters to receive a thumbs up or an order to return to the drawing board to draft a more austere spending plan to govern our community’s districts in the coming year.

In each of the three districts encompassing the Tonawandas, we urge voters to give the plans a stamp of approval.

Some details:

• Ken-Ton voters have the largest tax levy increase to swallow, but given the amount that’s been cut in previous years, we don’t see any fat left to trim in what is a consistently well-run school system.

Board members are facing tough decisions and will soon address the unnecessary space it currently has by closing one or more schools. It will be a difficult and painful decision — as they have proven in the past.

The amount of money the district is asking of taxpayers is going up by 4.66 percent but it’s a worthy expenditure and voters should feel confident the increase is as small as it can be without proving disruptive to children’s education.

• In North Tonawanda, voters will cast judgment on a spending plan that came together much easier than in recent years.

For this, we are all grateful.

There are some cuts including some teaching positions but a relatively tame budget year should give voters peace of mind Lumber City schools will be able to meet challenges without as much pain as in recent years.

Taxpayers should be able to adjust to a 2.56 percent tax levy increase — about half what was allowable under the state’s property tax cap calculation for the district — without significant problems.

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