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DISTRICT SCHOOL ABSENT IN PLAN FOR REVAMPED NEIGHBORHOOD

A plan to transform a Cheektowaga neighborhood into a community of new homes, stores and offices leaves Cleveland Hill School District on the outside looking in.

District officials said Wednesday night that the controversial Renaissance Village plan for the Cedargrove area is missing something important -- a footprint for the school it owns on Community Drive.

"In (the developers') drawings there is no school there, and that is something that is of great concern to us," Board President Robert C. Polino said.

Polino said the district will have short- and long-term problems if the developers' plans call for the school to be demolished, even though the building is not currently in use as a school.

The district leases part of the building to Aspire, formerly the United Cerebral Palsy Association, for about $100,000 per year. Also, the district and Aspire were discussing the agency paying for a portion of needed renovations at the site.

For now, Polino said, Aspire's aspirations are on hold.

And district officials are concerned the agency might back away from the renovations and the lease, which is lucrative to the district.

A bigger issue, officials said, is the potential loss of the building to the district, which has kept it in case of an enrollment spike.

After a recently completed capital project, Cleveland Hill has nearly reached the maximum expansion allowed by state law at the district's cramped Mapleview school complex.

"A lot of things are on hold because there's a concept -- and that's all it is right now -- a concept," Polino remarked.

In other business, the board reviewed the tentative $24 million budget for 2005-06, which represents a spending increase of $1.7 million, or roughly 7.4 percent from the current year's spending plan. The tax levy would rise 4.8 percent.

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