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Williamsville School Board members, who found enough money in a defeated budget to give the school superintendent a raise, are now considering a proposal that would cut a bus mechanic's hours -- and pay -- in half.

That proposal and a transportation report calling for the district to contract more of its busing brought about 60 angry drivers and mechanics to the School Board meeting Tuesday night.

"It took me 20 years to get where I'm at an now it's all being taken away from me," said mechanic Timothy Cummings.

The board will vote on cutting the position's hours Sept. 14, but Cumming's wife has already taken a second job in preparation for the worst.

Reducing the number of bus garage mechanics is one of several suggestions that came out of a study by Transportation Advisory Services of Fairport. The board got the final version Tuesday night.

The report noted that the Williamsville district has one mechanic for every 12.7 buses in its fleet. The industry standard is about one mechanic for every 15 to 18 buses, according to the report.

"Our safety record isn't the industry average either," said Kathy Curr, head of the local union representing bus drivers and mechanics. "It's a lot better and it's partly because of our mechanics."

And some say the district with its aging fleet will need more mechanics in the future. The district has not been able to get voter approval to buy new buses for several years.

The study also recommends that the district have a private company bus more of its students. Currently, the district buses half the students itself and contracts with Laidlaw to bus the other half. The district should cut the number of buses it owns from 74 to 40, according to the report.

"Forty is not a magic number," cautioned the study's author, Mark A. Walsh. "It's a direction we're suggesting, not an absolute number."

The Civil Service Employees Association will issue a response to the final transportation report.

In addition to boosting Superintendent Ann B. Fuqua's salary to $125,871, the district also found an extra money for another administrator.

The district gave an instructional specialist an extra $13,000 to become principal of Mill Middle School so the current principal, William Grobe, could run for president of a national education organization -- and still keep his $100,503 salary before he retires in a few years.

Because voters defeated the budget this spring, the district cut several student programs including 10th-grade health, distance learning at the high schools, the Special Friends program to help first-graders adjust and Arts in Education, which brought performing artists into the classroom.

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