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More than $2 million in planning for new schools and $2 million to renovate an 82-year-old school are among the projects included in a capital budget adopted by the Buffalo Board of Education Wednesday night.

The school district hopes to iron out details with the city for a four-year capital-improvement plan before the Common Council adopts the capital budget. The board established the capital-improvement fund last month to pump money into the district's aging schools.

The $23.3 million capital budget request next goes to city officials. The budget is approved by the Council after being shaped by a citizen committee.

In previous years, the city has allotted $4 million to $5 million in the final capital budget.

The district plans to put $8 million in retroactive building aid into the capital-development reserve fund and hopes the City of Buffalo will contribute up to $20 million in bonding for four years, giving the district about $80 million to spend on its buildings.

The district this week received a check from the state for $10 million of the $11.5 million it is owed in retroactive building aid.

The retroactive aid covers a period as long as 10 years, when school officials filed building aid applications improperly, resulting in the denial of many legitimate expenses.

The money has been invested in a 30-day certificate of deposit, said Richard A. Hitzges, associate superintendent for finance.

While $8 million of the building aid will be put in the capital-reserve fund, Superintendent Albert Thompson said the rest of the money will be used as a "budget resource" for the 1995-96 budget.

"That money belongs in a building aid fund," said John C. Doyle, an at-
large board member.

Board President Donald A. Van Every noted this is the first year the district has agreed to set aside any money for a building fund.

"We've set new ground by doing this," he said.

Under the capital budget request, the interior and exterior of Grover Cleveland High School would be rehabilitated. The school, built in 1913, is described in plans as "in desperate need of major repair and renovation."

The district plans to keep the school open for at least the next 20 years.

More than half of the city's 72 schools are more than 60 years old, and a handful date to the 1890s.

In addition to $2.4 million in planning for new schools, the budget request also includes $1.5 million to acquire a site for a new academy on the West Side, $1.5 million to acquire a new site for a new early childhood center on the East Side, and $1 million to purchase and renovate Nativity School to relieve crowding at School 18.

Also included in the request is $1.6 million to add classrooms to School 3, $1 million to replace boilers at South Park High School, $1 million for a new roof at City Honors and $1 million for exterior reconstruction at Lafayette High School.

Also Wednesday, board members told David Hess, assistant superintendent for secondary education, they want the horticulture program at McKinley High School restored to 48 slots in the fall.

He said the high school administration had decided to reduce the number of openings to 24 because he told them not to plan on additional staff, and another teacher would have to be hired for the larger program.

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