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Nearly 30 new teachers and two more new administrators will join the Hamburg Central School District when school starts next month.

The School Board hired 27 new teachers, a principal for the Middle School and an assistant principal for the high school during its meeting Tuesday night.

The appointments came after the board first discussed them in a closed-door meeting following the board's regular public meeting.

Most of the new teachers are at the high school, and a few at the elementary level. The additional staffing at the high school is needed in part because the freshman class has 50 more students than the previous year, said Associate Superintendent Edwin J. Osborne. Many of the new hires are replacements for teachers who resigned or retired under the district's latest teacher retirement incentive.

Of the 27 new teachers, 2.8 of the positions are newly created ones for math, business, physical education and health and music at the high school. Several new special education jobs were also created, Osborne said.

In addition, the board appointed Geoffrey Grace as the middle school principal at a $75,000 yearly salary, replacing Monica Witman, who took a principal position at a West Seneca middle school.

Grace had been principal of Fredonia Central Middle School since 1992. He also worked as an interim principal during part of 1991 at Hamburg's Boston Valley Elementary School. He also worked for 19 years as a physical education teacher for Hamburg schools and was its physical education department chairman for 11 years.

The board also named Michael Gallagher as an assistant principal at the high school, replacing Mary Jane Russell who retired in June. Gallagher's salary was set at $58,000.

Gallagher worked as a middle school math teacher at Albion Middle School and has taught history at Lackawanna High School and taught at several other area schools. He also has extensive coaching experience on the high school level.

In other business, the board set the 1998-99 school tax rates per $1,000 of assessed valuation at $20.57 for Hamburg; a .3 percent increase over last year; $17.25 for Eden, a 3.6 percent decrease; $22.07 for Boston, a 1.3 percent increase; and $21.33 for Orchard Park, a 1 percent increase. The district's tax levy is $17.99 million.

Superintendent Peter G. Roswell reported that the summer reading program at Armor Elementary School was successful, with more than 170 students attending. The district has plans to expand the program for 1999. A report on the program is planned for the board's next meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 8.

The board approved a policy for chaperons of school activities. Paid staffers and parents or legal guardians of a student involved in the activity are only allowed as chaperons, effective next Tuesday. Anyone else attending a school trip must be approved by the board.

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