Clarence to cut teachers, raise taxes

CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Town of Clarence School District is trying to close a multi-million dollar budget gap and none of the news was good Monday night.

More than a hundred people turned out to hear Clarence School Superintendent Geoffrey Hicks spell out the current plan to fill a $6 million deficit. It includes laying off 19 teachers and seven teacher aides. Some of the class sizes may increase to 27 students as a result, and even with those cuts, Clarence school officials suggest a property tax increase of 9.8 percent - which is well above the property tax cap, so it will need a yes vote from a 60 percent majority of district residents to pass in May.

Harris Hill Elementary PTO President Tricia Andrews said, "I totally believe it'll pass. It has support. Clarence taxes are low as it is. No one wants a tax hike but our schools are great and we need to keep them that way and we have to do our part."

Superintendent Hicks added, "The biggest reason [the budget has come to this] would be the lack of state aid the school district received, plus we've utilized our reserve funds to make up the difference between the lack of state aid and the low tax levys that we've had."

There will be another public meeting on the Clarence school budget on March 11, and then residents will be asked vote it up or down on May 21.v

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