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School Budgets and Boards – Vote on May 15

by Eva Potter

Spring isn’t just for pretty flowers. It’s also for school budget votes and board of education elections, and it’s happening all across New York State on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, from noon to 9 p.m. Voting takes place at each district’s high school.

One of the most powerful rights we have is the right to vote, and voting in local elections is an important and meaningful way for citizens to communicate their approval of the efforts of local governments and school districts. Ellicottville, Salamanca and Cattaraugus-Little Valley school districts are readying for the upcoming school budget and board of education elections. Here’s your chance to help determine how much your district will spend and who will be voting on important issues in your schools.

Ellicottville Central is seeking voter approval for three propositions. Proposition 1 asks the voters to approve the 2012-13 basic school budget of $10,641,795, which provides funding for all educational-related programs and services, and maintenance of their school building. Proposition 2 requests authorization for the levy of an additional $16,350 to lease two 35-passenger 2012 International school buses for each of the next five years commencing with the 2012-2013 school year. Proposition 3, if approved, will authorize the school district to expend $28,000 in tax money to support the Ellicottville Memorial Library, a $500 increase from the previous year.

In addition, ECS has four candidates are running to fill two vacant board of education seats. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes will serve a five-year term, beginning on July 1, 2012, and expiring on June 30, 2017. The candidate with the second highest number of votes will win a one-year term ending June 30, 2012, as a result of a vacated seat.

Melissa Foster, an ECS parent living in Great Valley, brings strong academic qualifications and holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s in reading and a master’s in education administration. She is a member and past president of the ECS PTO, a member of the Great Valley Volunteer Fire Department, a member of the Cattaraugus County Youth Bureau Board and a past member of the Ellicottville/Great Valley Ambulance Service.


Clarence Bickell, of Great Valley, is an ECS grad who said he will bring a conservative fiscal approach to the board, as well as a fresh voice from the community. He is active in the building construction industry and is a member of the Great Valley Volunteer Fire Company and has served as their president the past three years.


Roger Spell, of Ellicottville, an ECS parent, is seeking re-election to the board. He is co-owner of The Barn Restaurant and understands the important role of schools to parents and business owners. He has been active with the Ellicottville Pee Wee Football program, helping with the ECS boys’ modified basketball team and coaching for the elementary basketball program.


Aimee Kilby, of Great Valley, a grad and parent with children at ECS, holds a degree in accounting and a master’s in business administration. She is a senior accountant

for the Cattaraugus County Treasurer’s Office, and enjoys volunteering with Girl Scouts and Relay For Life.


Cattaraugus-Little Valley will ask taxpayers to vote for Proposition 1, which seeks approval for a $23,453,485 budget for the 2012-2013 year. Proposition 2, if passed, would authorize the board to purchase buses for the 2012-13 school year. Proposition 3 asks voters to approve the district’s increase in the sum of $200 each to community libraries for a total of $20,400.


In addition to the budget, taxpayers will be asked to vote for one of three board of education candidates for one three-year term ending June 30, 2015.


Josie Fellows holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and an associate’s degree in accounting, and has business experience in the private and public sectors. She said she is concerned with the education and future of the children and feels community involvement plays a key role in making a successful district.


Current board member David Shinners would like to continue to serve the taxpayers of the district by keeping taxes down and improving New York Test scores. He has worked as a correctional officer for the past 25 years and has been a volunteer fireman for the past 33 years in various leadership posts and served as a town councilman for the Town of Little Valley.


Eligible district voters of the Salamanca City School District will vote for only one proposition to approve the district’s budget of $24,697,411 for the 2012-2013 year. Voters will also elect one candidate to the board of education. There is one open seat and Barb Sande is running unopposed. She served on the board for the 2011-2012 year through appointment.


Although uncommon, write-in candidates, whose names do not appear on the ballot, but for whom voters may vote by writing in the person’s name, can also win board seats.

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