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The Depew Teachers Organization president says his union has been unfairly blamed for the district's financial problems.

In a prepared statement, Joseph Ritter, union president, questioned claims that a provision of the teachers' contract reducing elementary class sizes will cost the district $200,000. The maximum class size will drop only from 27 to 26, not enough to explain the $200,000 figure, he said.

Judith P. Staples, interim superintendent of schools, said the $200,000 increase is partly caused by increased elementary enrollment. The new maximum class size of 26 pupils will result in an average class size of about 24.5 pupils in the coming year, down from nearly 26 this year, she said.

Ritter also criticized the board's plan to reduce the number of high school tracks of study and elective courses.

The School Board is expected to decide Thursday whether to resubmit to the voters a $21 million budget proposal defeated by 10 votes June 12.

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