Voters approve $83 million school budget
The public voted overwhelmingly to approve the Clarence Board of Education’s proposed $83 million budget for the 2018-19 school year as more than 2,000 residents casted ballots on May 15.
With 2,216 votes cast, the budget proposal received 1,479 “Yes” votes and 725 “No” votes.
Board of Education incumbents Michael Fuchs and Dennis Priore also retained their seats over challengers Rachel Silva and Joshua Bowers. Both seats carry three-year terms, which will run from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2021.
Fuchs received the most votes of any candidate with 1,287, followed by Priore with 1,195. Bowers received 757 votes while Silva received 645.
With the approval of the 2018-19 budget, the Board of Education continues to estimate a tax rate of $14.03 per $1,000 of assessed value. That number is a decrease from last year’s rate of $14.49. The rate will not be finalized until the town hears all of the challenges to reassessments, which could come from commercial or residential property owners. When such challenges are completed, there will be a final value for the total number of assessments. In August, the Board of Education will formally establish the tax rate.
The board expects the tax levy to increase by 3.9 percent, well below the state-imposed cap of 4.7 percent. For taxpayers, this increase will affect next year’s school taxes based on whether their home was included in the town’s reassessments.
According to Superintendent Geoffrey Hicks, a home with an assessed value of $200,000 would see an estimated annual property tax increase of $72.
Clarence voters also approved the BOE’s $935,000 proposition to purchase 10 buses. Of the 2,199 votes cast for the proposition, 1,509 were in favor while 690 were against.
The district’s fleet currently contains 97 buses. According to Rick Mancuso, the business manager for the Clarence Central School District, the buses last between nine and 13 years before repairs and breakdowns make them no longer cost-effective and reliable.