A property tax assessment disagreement between Benderson Development and the Town of Cheektowaga could cost the Cheektowaga Central School District hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The school board Tuesday night approved the terms of a settlement with the real estate company, pending final approval of the agreement by the school district’s attorneys. The deal would settle assessment challenges that Benderson has lodged against the town on 16 properties dating back to 2009, School Board President Brian Gould said.
Final figures weren’t available, but Gould and Superintendent Dennis Kane confirmed that refunds to Benderson would total several hundred thousand dollars. Gould added that the district has a fund for such litigation, but the settlement would reduce it substantially.
“It’s a big piece for us,” said Gould, adding that assessment challenges are expected, but this is the largest he has seen in his 12 years on the board.
Board members plan to invite the town supervisor and assessor to an upcoming meeting to discuss the implications of the settlement on the district’s budget.
The board also approved a new labor contract for principals, assistant principals and the dean of students. The agreement – which is retroactive to July 1 and expires June 30, 2016 – includes a 2.5 percent annual raise. No health care concessions were made this time because the union agreed to paying 9 percent of costs in its previous contract.
“We felt they were at a fair level,” Gould said.
The district also will be bidding farewell to a longtime teacher as the board approved the retirement of Meg Graczyk, a special education teacher at Union East Elementary School, effective Feb. 13. She has been with the district since September 1988.
The board’s next meeting will be held 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, in the boardroom at Cheektowaga Central High School, 3600 Union Road. The meeting will be preceded by the 10th annual Community Involvement Awards and Wall of Fame presentations at 6:30 p.m.