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BUDGET OK'D WITH SPENDING HIKE

After months of stripping away expenses, the Cleveland Hill School Board on Wednesday night adopted a proposed budget of $24 million for 2005-06 that would increase spending by 7.4 percent.

The spending plan is $1.7 million more than the current year's figure, even after$3 million in programs and positions was pared from the proposal submitted by the school superintendent.

If approved by voters May 17, the budget would carry an increase in the tax levy of $439,153, or 4.83 percent, according to Business Manager Kevin A. Ziemba.

Because of property assessments that are not yet known, Ziemba said he cannot calculate how much the proposed tax levy would raise the tax rate. However, in comparison, the tax rate approved by voters last year represented about a 4.8 percent increase over the previous year's rate, based on a nearly 6 percent rise in spending.

In other business, the board:

Approved a $1,000 contract with architect Jerry Young for a proposed window-replacement and track-restoration project. Money for the roughly $1 million project would come from the capital reserve fund and would have no affect on the tax rate. The project also will be voted on May 17.

"We basically have all the preliminary paperwork ready to go out to (the state Education Department) and are pretty much waiting for a positive vote," Young said.

Said that it would be meeting regularly in May to interview candidates for the job of middle school principal. James E. Przepasniak, who has held that post for nine years, is leaving June 30 to become assistant superintendent for curriculum at Lake Shore Central Schools.