A sparse crowd gathered for the Cheektowaga Central School District’s 2013-14 budget hearing Tuesday night, offering no feedback even after learning that taxes would be going up.
District Treasurer Kaitlyn Tokarczyk presented the proposed $39.9 million spending plan, which was adopted last month by the School Board and includes a 2.93 percent increase in the tax levy.
If the budget is approved by voters, it would increase spending by $817,039 over this year, largely because of increases of $4.4 million for employee benefits and $3.1 million for retirement costs, Tokarczyk said. The taxes on a home assessed at $100,000 would be $1,763, an increase of $81.69 over this year.
Tokarczyk also highlighted positive aspects, including the district’s ability to maintain its fourth-grade music program and the realization of $400,000 in savings since 2011 from the re-routing of school buses. She added that expenditures per student totaled $16,954, compared with the state average of $20,420 per student.
Superintendent Dennis Kane said the spending plan balances educational programs, extracurricular activities and fiscal responsibility.
“It’s a sound budget that meets the kids’ educational needs,” he said.
The budget will be the first of two propositions that voters will consider when they head to the polls from noon to 9 p.m. May 21 in the band room of Cheektowaga Central High School, 3600 Union Road. The second proposition will ask voters to approve the establishment of a seat for a nonvoting student member of the Board of Education, according to District Clerk Mary Ann Miano.
Voters also will elect a new member of the School Board. Incumbent Diane Panasiewicz, who has been a member of the board for the past 15 years, has decided not to seek re-election. While she will continue to volunteer within the community, she also hopes to spend more time with her children and grandchildren, who live out of state.
“I did my time,” she said. “I’ll keep on volunteering, but in different ways.”
Heather DuBard and Dennis S. Kusak Jr. are running for the seat, and Panasiewicz hopes that the winner will understand that she or he will be one of several voices and opinions that will shape policy for the district.
The board’s next regular meeting will be held at 7 p.m. June 11 in the boardroom at the high school.