May 19 is the day of our school district budget vote for the 2015-2016 school year. Typically, voter turn-out is low in our District, and most others throughout the State.
In Niagara Falls, it is very important that our residents take the time to vote, between noon and 9 p.m. at general election sites. (There is one exception is VFW Post #54; for those residents who usually vote there will vote at Maple Avenue School 952 Maple Ave.)
* Even though the State provides financial aid to our District and all districts throughout the State, the State has not funded poorer districts as it should, according to its own formula. This puts our students at a disadvantage as compared to other students from wealthier districts.
In 23 years, the Board of Education has raised the tax levy only once, three years ago, and even then the increase was modest. If tax levy had increased with the pace inflation over those years, it would be 45% higher than it is today. But the Board of Education and administration of the District have always been sensitive to the fact that the community cannot afford such increases.
This year, we have proposed to use our reserve funds—basically our savings—to balance the budget and minimize the impact of increasing costs. And although we will endure reductions in staffing to keep the levy constant, we have worked hard to keep our classrooms intact.
It is important that voters know that the costs of recently completed capital projects in no way impacts our budget with respect to staffing or programs or expenses. The funds used for payment on capital projects are reimbursed by the State dollar for dollar. With or without the Inventing Tomorrow projects, we would be in the same financial position, but without the assets the projects have added to our schools and campuses.
A defeated budget would result in additional staffing cuts, and the inability, by law, for the District help students acquire school supplies, to purchase equipment, or make any exception to the busing rules to assist students in need of exceptions. All the details are available at www.nfschools.net.
Please vote Tuesday, May 19. Your vote counts!