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LANCASTER CENTRAL VOTERS TO BE ASKED TO OK BUYING 5 BUSES

Lancaster Central School District voters, who approved the purchase of 12 replacement buses in December, will be asked for the OK to buy five more in May.

A $390,000 bond proposition for the purchase of five more buses Monday night was approved by the Lancaster School Board. The board placed the measure on the May 19 ballot, along with district's budget and the election of one board member.

Officials said the purchase will add about three cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to the district tax rate for five years, beginning in 1999-2000.

Three months ago, 62 percent of a turnout of more than 2,300 voters approved buying 12 replacement buses for $872,000. That purchase will hike the tax rate about five cents a year for five years, beginning in the next school year.

In both cases, officials say the buses will replace vehicles at least 10 years old with almost or more than 100,000 miles on them. All are in increasing need of body work to one degree or another, said Norma Boteler, head bus driver.

The purchases are part of the district's normal vehicle replacement schedule, officials said.

Meanwhile, work is continuing on the new school budget. According to the budget calendar, the School Board plans to adopt a proposed budget May 4, with the public hearing set for May 11. At last report, officials were looking at a 16 percent tax hike, primarily due to the opening of a new school for fifth- and sixth-graders and a full-day kindergarten program.

Only one School Board seat will be filled in the May 19 vote. The seat is currently held by Richard J. D'Arcy, board president. All board terms now are for three years. Candidates for the board must file their petitions by April 20.

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