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PROPOSED BUDGET UP 3.7 PERCENT TO $26 MILLION

Due to a computer transmission error, an outdated story on the Iroquois school budget was published in Tuesday's Buffalo News.

The Iroquois Central Board of Education approved a 1998-99 school year budget of $26,024,078 that is up 3.7 percent in overall spending, in part due to last December's voter approval of a $9.9 million capital improvement project.

Without the capital project, the budget would be up less than three-tenths of 1 percent or $67,435 over the current year.

The budget proposition includes expenditures for basic educational program, transportation supplies and equipment including eight vehicles at a cost not to exceed $332,000, of which $120,000 will be transfered from the Bus Purchase Capital Reserve Fund.

The budget proposition to be presented to voters May 19 also includes equipment, student instructional supplies and an interfund transfer to the capital fund in an amount not to exceed $125,000 to cover minor renovations in district buildings.

There will be two additional propositions to increase the bus capital reserve fund and capital improvement fund.

The proposed 1998-99 budget reflects a $7, or 3.58 percent, tax increase, to $202.39 per $1,000 of assessed valuation from this year, for Elma residents, the largest town in the district and the only one still using the old fractionalized assessment system. The average house assessed at $100,000 will see a tax increase of about $60, school officials said.

Other towns in the district that will see their taxes rise are Wales, $21.82 per $1,000 assessed valuation, up 96 cents or 4.63 percent; and Bennington, the only town in the district that is in Wyoming county, $21.01, up 44 cents or 2.13 percent. Decreases will be realized for the Town of Marilla with a tax rate of $19.21, down 20 cents or 1.04 percent; Aurora, $21.82, down 56 cents 2.52 percent; and Lancaster, $15.86, down 98 cents or 5.86 percent.

Superintendent Michael Glover called it "a strong budget in a tough budget year."

"If you look at our assessment challenges, this is a very conservative budget that we hope will get even better when the state comes out with their budget," he said.

School officials said the Iroquois budget was kept to a minimum increase despite increased enrollment, ongoing litigation with Moog Inc. over reassessment, and higher Regents standards.

The new budget adds Advanced Placement courses in European and American-U.S. Government history, Statistics and French; two full-time classroom positions, a full-time sixth-grade teacher and a full time ninth-grade occupational education teacher; a halftime high school guidance position; and a slight increase in staffing for English/language arts, art and AP history.

The budget includes a new reading recovery training program and early reading help in third grade. Glover noted that "how they read by the 11th grade is how they read at grade 3."

State aid is pegged at $9.9 million, about the same as this year, and sales tax revenue will show a modest increse. Interest from several small miscellaneous revenues amount to $300,000.

The tax levy is $11,969,414.

Glover said the state is enjoying a record year with more than $2 billion in surplus.

"It is frustrating circumstances for us to have to estimate our revenues from the state so we are being very conservative," he said.

A public hearing on the budget is set for 7:30 p.m. May 11 in the intermediate school gymnasium on Girdle Road.

In another matter, the board awarded the 1998-99 food service contract to Personal Touch Food Service Inc. of Buffalo for a total maximum cost reimbursement of $1.27 per meal.

The board also accepted a donation of $1,480 from the Iroquois High School Football Boosters.

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