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SCHOOL BUDGET MAY INCREASE TAXES 26 CENTS

A $21.4 million 1998-99 budget proposition adopted last week by the Tonawanda City School Board will increase school taxes by an estimated 1.46 percent or 26 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation if voters OK the plan on May 19.

The projected tax rate is $17.96 per $1,000, up from the current $17.70, said C. Douglas Whelan, assistant superintendent for business and finance.

But Whelan said a $60,000 capital improvement proposition to finance repairs at the Highland Elementary pool would add another 15 cents to the tax rate, if passed, and a new equipment proposition, not to exceed $100,000, would add 24 cents.

If all three propositions passed, the tax rate would increase by an estimated 65 cents per $1,000, or 3.67 percent, said Whelan.

The capital improvement proposition would pay for completion of the Highland pool ceiling and new light fixtures; the equipment proposition would pay for various instructional and maintenance items, from maps and globes to a tractor.

The $21,478,585 budget proposition, up 1.48 percent or $313,427 over the current year, represents a $40,000 reduction from a preliminary plan. Trustees set the new amount and then asked administrators to make the necessary cuts.

Whelan said Friday there has been no decision on where the reductions will be made, but the board will receive a list at Thursday's meeting. Trustees left the cuts to the discretion of administrators, but Whelan said: "It doesn't preclude them from making comments and changes."

The board will hold a public hearing on the budget at 7 p.m. May 7 in the district offices, 202 Broad St.

Besides the propositions, the May 19 vote will include the election of three trustees. The three-year terms of Joseph Miosi, William Watson and board Vice President Dennis Atkinson are expiring this year.

District clerk Nancy Harder said nominating petitions can be picked up on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The deadline for returning the petitions is April 30.

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