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The tentative 1998-99 budget for the Erie II-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Cooperative Educational Services is slightly lower than its current budget, but two key segments -- special education and occupational education -- are slightly higher.

The tentative $40.06 million budget, down $363,000 from this year's spending, will be reviewed at the BOCES annual meeting at 7:30 p.m. next Wednesday at Silver Creek Central School.

While these figures will change throughout the school year as service requests from the 27 component school districts shift as their enrollments change, there is one figure unlikely to change: the $2,229,150 administrative budget, which is up nearly $111,000.

The component school boards on April 22 will vote on the administrative budget and fill five places on the BOCES board. Expiring are the terms of Jerome Brown, Ashville-Chautauqua; Ronald Catalano, Westfield; Linda Hoffman, Springville; Joanne Martin, Silver Creek; and Donald Patterson, Gowanda.

The largest appropriation in the budget is $15.46 million for special education, up $739,000. Local districts pay these rates for their students:

$20,983 for each of 175 students in classes of 12.

$24,620 for each of 64 students in classes of eight.

$28,172 for each of 201 students in classes of six.

$34,815 for the 56 most severely handicapped students. These classes have a teacher and one aide for every three students. Each of the other classes has a teacher and an aide.

The budget includes $6.9 million for occupational education, up $224,000, for instruction in the trades for nearly 1,300 students. Local districts will pay $5,415 for each student in the program, a rate based on last year's participation.

Other parts of the budget are:

Alternative and general education, $5.15 million, up $170,000. The tuition rate for most students is $7,899, but for the few in an intensive program it is $12,940.

Instructional technology services, $3.64 million, down $750,000.

Repair and renovation, $561,000, up $50,000.

Staff and curriculum development, $1.59 million, down $170,000.

Management services, $3.72 million, down $620,000. Superintendent Lionel R. "Skip" Meno is paid $147,686 in combined state and local salary and benefits.

Meno said enrollment in BOCES alternative education classes for students who have difficulty learning in a normal classroom setting has climbed from 80 to 300 over four years.

Classes are held in Dunkirk, Fredonia, Jamestown, Ashville and Orchard Park.

Meno said unit costs for the 230 separate services that BOCES offers have climbed 2.4 percent in one year.

The current labor contract covering the 650-member BOCES staff has another year to run.

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