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UNCERTAINTY ON SCHOOL AID DELAYS VOTE

The Fredonia Board of Education has postponed its school budget vote, originally scheduled for May 9, until May 23 due to uncertainty over state aid.

The board Tuesday set the annual election for one school board member, the vote on the budget and the vote on a $179,000 capital improvement project for the East Main Street campus for May 23 from 2 to 8 p.m.

The board wanted more time to establish the district budget to have accurate tax information in time for the vote. Last year, state aid was less than expected and the final tax rate turned out to be higher than the figure estimated when the budget was presented to voters.

The project at the East Main Street campus includes the reconstruction and expansion of the parking lot and driveway, to cost no more than $64,350. The improvements to the building are to cost no more than $114,650.

In another capital project, the board approved the bonding of $98,000 to pay for a new playground at the Wheelock School. The voters previously had approved the necessary proposition.

State aid is guaranteed at 82.7 percent of the cost, with a playground committee paying the rest. Board President Joseph Gullo has stated the project will be "no cost to the taxpayers."

Bids for the project will be opened at 3 p.m. today.

The board also:

Decided to retain consultants Everson-Dodge, Inc., Orchard Park, to review previous state aid claims to see whether the district could be eligible for any additional aid. The fee will be 15 percent of the first $500,000 recovered and 5 percent of amounts over $500,000.

Approved a resolution supporting the continued state funding of the School-to-Employment Program. The district operates the program in which five other districts participate.

The program has been funded for the last seven years under an Attendance Improvement/Dropout Prevention grant.

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