Kindergarten Saved, Teachers Cut

April 25, 2013 Updated Apr 25, 2013 at 8:07 AM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

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April 25, 2013 Updated Apr 25, 2013 at 8:07 AM EDT

(WKBW)

Sanborn, NY

The Niagara Wheatfield Central School District is in trouble, struggling to find $3.4 million for the 2013-2014 school year.

The plan? Raising taxes in the form of a 5.91 percent tax levy. That didn't seem to bother the majority of residents at a special meeting called by the school board on Wednesday night.

But even with that tax increase the district still find itself short $1.4 million.

The board announced it will make up that difference through staff retirements, laying off four teachers, cutting a high school STEM program, slashing teacher aids and monitors' hours, eliminating a janitorial position, and cutbacks in the transportation department .

The board unanimously adopted the proposed budget.

But if residents don't do the same when voting on the tax levy on May 21st the board says it will be forced at the very least to cut kindergarten in half or not offer it at all.

Balancing the budget on the backs of kindergarteners does not sit well with many parents.

"I was shocked to hear that pre-school got cut last year but when I heard that kindergarten was being cut at least on the discussion board being cut this year I was completely confused. The purpose of school is academics," said Cindy Seguin a parent in the district.

Sports, music and other non state mandated programs are also at risk if the tax levy doesn't pass.

"There is no way our students stand a chance getting accepted into colleges when they go to fill out the application part of their entrance program where they are asked to indicate, what programs, what clubs what sports, what opportunities have you participated in? There is no box to check I would've if I could've," said Karen Anderson a parent in the district.

This district is no stranger to cuts. They've cut 91 employees over just the past two years. The tax levy is May 21st.