Hamburg, West Seneca teachers to be laid off after school budgets pass

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The results for school district spending plans are mostly in across Western New York. Voters are so far overwhelmingly approving budgets, despite the fact some of them still include layoffs.

This includes teachers and staff in Hamburg and West Seneca where residents voted to pass the school budgets tonight.

School board elections and budget results around WNY

Hamburg resident Marridy Knips feels residents were blindsided by the school district. The Hamburg Central School District faces a deficit after losing federal COVID relief money. District officials announced earlier this month that the budget, of nearly $85 million, would include around 20 employee layoffs, including 13 teachers.

“It seems like so many people were surprised and whenever that kind of thing happens I think it’s bad,” Knips said.

“That’s a concern especially with kids going into school. You want to see there be as many teachers as there can,” said Dave Thompson, a Hamburg resident who came out to vote Tuesday. “I know there are some kids that are not maybe getting the education that they were a few months ago right now, but hopefully the district can get that turned around.”

Hundreds of people turned out to vote in Hamburg. With a “Yes” vote of 1456 to 521, the budget passed.

2024 School Budget Results

“I hate to see people cut, I really do because those are jobs that are very important and it’s unfortunate that the financial situation seems to not only have hit this district, but many other districts,” Knips said.

Crowds of people also turned out to vote in West Seneca.

“Our kids are all grown and out of school. We have four grandkids that will be going to school in West Seneca and we want to make sure they have the best teachers available and best resources available,” said West Seneca resident Frank Coniglio.

According to district officials, the district lost $4.8 million in federal pandemic aid and increased operating costs.

“Cost are out of control. There’s a lot of waste in the school budget,” said West Seneca resident Samuel Schifano.

The West Seneca School District’s financial crisis is forcing nearly 30 teachers and staff to lose their jobs.

“I wouldn’t want to see all the teachers that they’re proposing get laid off. That’s just a bad situation for the kids,” Coniglio said.

“If they have to be laid off, they have to be laid off. I mean, I don’t want to see anybody lose their jobs certainly, but they got money from COVID and they didn’t utilize it properly. They should have banked it,” Schifano said.

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Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.

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