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Ken-Ton School Board passes budget

Two years ago, staff and teachers bid farewell to Kenmore Middle School. On Tuesday, the Board of Education celebrated a new life for the nearly 94-year-old building.

The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Board of Education held its first board meeting in the new community room – a transformed former cafeteria in the middle school at 155 Delaware Road.

The room has state-of-the-art technology, from white boards to multiple cameras for distance learning and professional development, as well as an updated sound system and the ability to record meetings.

Ninety-five percent of the work was done in-house, which saved the district hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to John J. Brucato, assistant superintendent of finance.

District staff also built a bench for the School Board with embedded monitors to allow members to follow videos and presentations.

The project took about nine months with staff even working weekends to get the job done, said Board President Jill O'Malley.

"It was worth waiting for," O'Malley said. "It was done with heart and soul."

The board adopted a $164 million 2018-19 budget. The budget is up $3.3 million from the current budget, a 2.05 percent increase. The $84.9 million tax levy is up 3 percent, which is under the tax cap.

The estimated tax rate is $51.16 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, an $1.49 increase, or 3 percent. The average annual tax bill of $1,937 per year in 2017-18 is estimated to increase $58.11 per year on a $100,000 home to $1,995 per year in 2018-19. This is based on the current equalization rate of 39 percent, which is subject to change.

The budget will go to voters during the school district election May 15.

Also on the agenda will be the purchase of 12 buses and the sale of the Philip Sheridan building, where the board formerly held its meetings. The proposed sale price is $1 million.

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