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HEARING SCHEDULED ON BUDGET PROPOSAL WITH INCREASE IN STATE AID AND TAX LEVY

A public hearing on the Tonawanda City School District's proposed $28.2 million 2005-06 budget will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the administration office at 202 Broad St.

The budget is up 4.75 percent over the current year and calls for a 3.51 percent tax levy increase.

Assistant Superintendent Peter Michaelsen reported on the budget to the School Board and the district's budget advisory team during a meeting Tuesday evening.

The district received good news with the timely passage of the state budget, as Tonawanda will receive an increase of $945,641 in state aid over last year.

The additional revenue caused some debate during Tuesday's meeting, as some board members wanted to lessen the burden on taxpayers while others sought to restore some of the positions eliminated last year.

This year's budget process was easier than last year's, as the prior budget had a depleted fund balance and decrease in state aid. Michaelsen said this year, the district has a clearer picture with a firm aid formula and increased revenues.

Administrators are proposing to restore three teaching positions, two teaching assistants and an occupational therapist to full-time status. A part-time clerk is being requested for the Pupil Personnel Services office. If approved, the positions will cost the district $143,010 with benefits.

The biggest expenditure increases this year are items the district has little control over. Retirement and health insurance costs will increase by $340,342, and the district's payroll will rise by $762,731.

The district will have to pay for more of its special-education services due to cuts in the Erie I BOCES budget, increasing expenses by $106,862. Intramurals will return to the physical education program, increasing its budget by $16,700.

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