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The Clarence School Board has asked administrators to tighten spending in a $39.2 million 1998-99 preliminary budget presented this week in a brief review session.

The amount is up $378,740 or slightly under 1 percent from this year's $38.9 million budget, but trustees want to see further reductions before adopting a plan. The preliminary budget is already down $1 million from an initial request of $40.2 million.

School officials want to keep class sizes workable, support the move to higher standards and maintain a program of "quality and breadth," but they also recognize taxpayer concerns, said Superintendent Thomas G. Coseo.

At this week's session, trustees decided to eliminate $250,000 allocated for capital projects and instead plan to combine the items in a future proposition. The projects involve repaving and expanding parking at various school buildings.

Coseo said the work could have been done within the budget, but a potential 10 percent state building aid increase after July 1 means it makes more fiscal sense to put the items together for consideration at a later date.

The board has just been informed of the building aid situation, thus a proposition would not be submitted to voters anytime soon, said Coseo. District residents vote May 19 on a budget and the election of trustees. Other reductions in budget requests came from the $28.9 million instructional portion of the plan and were made across the board. The items reduced included requests for additional staffing, supplies and material.

Coseo did not project a tax rate, noting that the Town of Newstead, the second largest contributor to district assessments, is conducting a property revaluation.

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