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TONAWANDA CITY SCHOOLS OK ADMISSION FEE FOR FOOTBALL

A year after eliminating admission fees at school sporting events, the Tonawanda City Board of Education Monday voted 4-2 to set ticket prices for 1998-99 varsity football games.

Board members said they may charge admission for other athletic events but want to study the matter further. In the meantime, adults will pay $1 and students 50 cents to attend the football games. Senior citizens and preschoolers will be admitted free of charge.

The dissenting votes came from Pamela Peterman, who called the fee "just one more tax to the citizens of Tonawanda," and Gina Terbot, who said it is discriminatory to charge a fee for some competitions and not others.

Before the vote, trustees heard a report from C. Douglas Whelan, assistant superintendent for business and finance, on ticket prices in other districts. Whelan said seven of 10 districts he contacted charge $1 admission. The others charge up to $2.

Speaker Bill Ricketts asked the board who will sell the tickets.

"You're putting the cart before the horse," he said.

But board President Susan Gregg said trustees first had to make the decision to sell tickets. "If we sell tickets, then we have to have a ticket manager," she said, referring to a faculty position that the board has not filled.

Ricketts also objected to paying a ticket manager for work that he said volunteers are willing to do. The position, which pays a stipend of $1,942, is currently part of the teachers contract, but administrators are negotiating to remove the position, Superintendent Diana D. Greene said.

In other business, the board abolished the position of dean of students, which school officials consider unnecessary. However, Larry Badgley, who holds that post and also is director of health, physical education and athletics, will not lose his job.

Badgley, hired two years ago for both positions, will remain the head of health, physical education and athletics and also become director of school facilities and operations, a newly created position. Ms. Greene said the area of operations management has experienced considerable growth and affects Badgley's other position.

The board also:

Approved a 1998-99 tax levy of $7.4 million, including $6.4 million to be collected from taxpayers and slightly less than $1 million from the State Taxpayer Relief Program. The tax rate will remain the same as last year's $17.70 per $1,000 assessed valuation.

Accepted a bid of $1.12 per meal from Sodexho-Marriott for this year's school lunch program. The cost to students will be 65 cents per meal, down from 70 cents last year.

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