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Depew school voters are being asked to approve a $26.99 million budget with a 2.2 percent tax-rate increase along with a proposition to reduce School Board terms from five to three years.

Estimated tax rates are $27.66 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in the Town of Cheektowaga portion of the district, up 60 cents from this year, and $20.59 in the Town of Lancaster, a 45-cent increase.

Tuesday's ballot also gives voters the opportunity to shorten the terms of future board members to three years and take steps toward having relatively equal numbers of board seats up for election each year. To accomplish the staggering of terms desired, the proposition provides for three- or four-year terms for vacancies occurring in the next three years.

Meanwhile, only one of the School Board's seven seats is on this year's ballot. Trustee June Jasinski is unopposed in her quest for a five-year term.

Depew received about $240,000 more in state aid than anticipated earlier this year. About $168,000 will be used to reduce the tax levy, while about $72,000 will go toward programs geared to help students meet higher statewide academic standards.

While limiting the tax hike to 2.2 percent, the budget calls for increasing overall spending by $1,276,176, or 4.96 percent.

Special-education needs account for much of the increase. Programs addressing higher state academic standards, development of the computer technology program and maintaining the current educational program are other factors in the spending increase, officials say. The tax levy, or amount to be raised in taxes, totals $10,736,940, or about 2 percent more than this year. Current estimates are that $7,392,217 will come from Cheektowaga taxpayers and $3,344,723 from Lancaster taxpayers.

Voting hours are noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Cayuga Heights Elementary School, 1780 Como Park Blvd.

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