Weekly Feature



2017-09-06 / Front Page

Board of Education reports lower tax rate for 2017-18

by ETHAN POWERS
Editor

The Clarence Board of Education delivered some very favorable news to town taxpayers during its Aug. 28 meeting.

District business manager Rick Mancuso informed the board that the tax rate for the 2017-18 school year had dropped several cents from last year.

“We’re very happy the way everything worked out,” he said. “The assessment was up a little bit, and the average tax rate last year was $14.53. This year it dropped to $14.49. If your home wasn’t reassessed, your tax bill will most likely be lower.”

Newly elected board president Michael Fuchs commended the news, adding that when the board had made preliminary calculations last fall in regard to the tax rate, it had predicted a higher number.

“We estimated conservatively that it would be just about a percent increase in the tax rate,” he said. “We’re actually down almost three tenths of a percent. Clearly, we’re seeing the benefits of growth in Clarence.”

Mancuso also told the board of the need for two additional drainage wells near the baseball diamond that will need to be implemented to assist with drainage concerns.

“You don’t want to overbuild and spend taxpayer money that you don’t have to spend. It gave us a nice opportunity to build what we wanted to build,” he said. “Because the turf fields were the first year, and this is the second year, we know that we can use additional drainage.”

The turf add-on to the baseball diamond was included as part of the district’s capital project, which cost an estimated $23.2 million.

Fuchs concluded the meeting by addressing what the board views as a worrisome pattern for district field trips — the board feels as if they’re not given enough time nor context to judge their educational viability. In speaking about an upcoming trip to New York City, to be taken by the high school’s Academy of Business and Finance, Fuchs reiterated his concerns.

“It didn’t go without notice to the board that this trip was soliciting student involvement and participation, soliciting deposits, and it really puts us in a pickle if we were to determine it wasn’t educationally a sound trip to support,” he said, noting that the same concern was brought up by the board in regard to a recent high school trip to Quebec.

On behalf of the board, Fuchs asked superintendent Geoffrey Hicks to “recommit ourselves as a district to reinforcing protocol and procedures.

“I think we’ve talked about it enough in that, as a board, we’re more apt to turn it down in the future if it happens again,” he added.

In a separate matter, the Board of Education formally elected a vice president. The board unanimously elected Fuchs as its president during its reorganization meeting on July 10, but voting for the vice president did not deliver a consensus due to an absence. After board members wrote their choice down on a blank ballot, Mancuso announced that Matthew Stock had been elected to the position by a vote of four to three.

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