CLARENCE, NY - The Clarence School Board of Education met Tuesday night, in front of a packed audience that was filled with students, parents and taxpayers, to discuss some tough budget choices after its budget failed last week.
Many people in the audience have been against deep budget cuts and high property taxes.
Under a revised proposed budget by Clarence schools, programs, sports and positions would be altered for the worse. Many details in the budget anger residents, who say they will fight the cuts.
The Clarence school board now says it has to close a $4.2 million gap. And recommends the elimination of all freshman sports. The plan includes cutting 53 positions, boosting class sizes to 23 or 25 children in many cases.
"[Tuesday] we will move to a capped budget in doing so, there will be difficult cuts and choices however, the board has no intention of taking a wrecking ball to this fine district," said Michael Lex, the president of the Clarence School Board.
"You're cutting the core of who we are you're cutting our teachers, cut the administration," said one person at the meeting.
Abbey Kracker and Lilli Woodbury are two students, who desperately want their music program at Clarence High to remain in tact.
"We're just trying to be hopeful," said Woodbury, "There's a nerve that I'm not sure what's going to happen."
"I'm hopeful for whatever directors we end up with, I'm sure the music department will be just as wonderful," said Kracker.
Property taxes would still rise under the new plan, but not as much if the first budget proposal was passed. The new proposal is to boost taxes slightly below 3.79 percent.
The school district had proposed nearly a double-digit tax increase of 9.8 percent. A vote on the plan last week required at least 60 percent approval.
It was shot down 58 percent to 42 percent, with a record number of more than 8,200 voters turning out.
Last week's vote required at least a 60 percent approval to override the district's tax cap. The budget to make deep cuts will not override the tax cap, so that plan will just be a majority vote.
There will be another budget meeting June 10th.
The second budget plan will be up for a vote by residents on June 18th. If defeated, a contingency budget would need to be put in place.