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Bleakley retains seat on Batavia School District 101 Board

BATAVIA – Batavia School Board member incumbent Tina Bleakley was returned to the board Tuesday night, and Jason Stoops, Susan Locke and Jonathan Gaspar also won seats on the board.

Seven candidates were running for four seats on the board. The other candidates were Garrick Grizaffi, Jim Karner and Michael Papka.

According to unofficial results, Stoops received 1,374 votes; Bleakley, 1,259 votes; Gaspar, 1,262 votes,;Locke, 1,200 votes; Karner, 1,170 votes; Papka, 1,166 votes; and Grizaffi, 1,052 votes.

Bleakley, who was appointed in July to fill a vacancy on the board, was the only incumbent running. Board President Ron Link, Vice President Jack Hinterlong and board member Joseph Purpura did not run for re-election.

A proposal to shift the cost of teacher pensions from the state onto the local school districts was among issues in the race.

Bleakley said the school board already is addressing possible changes in the pension system.

“Every school district in the state is going to have to face this pensions issue,” she previously said. “We are preparing for it. We will do whatever it takes to continue maintaining the level of teaching we have, the quality of teaching we have.”

Stoops said he wants to reduce the number of students per class.

“Currently, I believe we are around 26 to 29 students per class,” he had previously said. “It would be best if we had a range around 21 to 24.”

He also is opposed to moving forward with an estimated $13.4 million in improvements to Batavia High School’s athletic fields as part of a master plan.

“Although it looks gorgeous, I feel there are much more necessary and better projects that should be instituted before even considering a proposed $13 million athletic field project,” Stoops said.

Locke said she doesn’t see a lot of waste in the school district.

“I am a PTO president and am in the schools at least three days a week,” she had said. “I see people using what they have. We in the PTO raise a lot of money to help supplement the schools.”

Gaspar, who is a teacher in East Aurora School District 131, said he would make decisions based on the needs of students and teachers.

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