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The Lewiston-Porter School Board voted 7-0 Tuesday night to appoint two board representatives to look into the possibility of embarking on a capital building project.

Trustee Mark R. Shea said that because the state Education Department issued an incentive that added 10 percent more in state aid for school districts that approve projects before July 1, 2000, the School Board ought to think about bringing its buildings up to par.

The board appointed Shea and Vice President William Johnson to be board liaisons to a committee studying such an endeavor.

"I think a lot of the issues are urgent and a lot of things have been put off for too long," said Shea.

The public would have to vote on an issue by June 30, said Assistant Superintendent Don W. Rappold. His office has already notified the state Education Department that the district is considering improving health and safety features of district buildings.

In a related matter, the board appointed trustee Heather A. DeCastro to look into getting the assessment on the district's primary building reduced. Though she did not have precise figures at the meeting, she said the building, which sits on the central school campus but lies in Porter, is assessed at $1.2 million or $1.3 million.

The School Board previously had Girasole Appraisal Co. of Niagara Falls give a fair-market appraisal on the property, setting it at $340,000 to $400,000.

If the building were on the tax rolls, the owner would have to pay about $70,000 every year in taxes under the current assessment, said DeCastro. She added that if the building were to be assessed at a lower value, there might be potential buyers for the property, which is mainly used for School Board meetings and is rented out to groups and businesses.

School Attorney F. Warren Kahn said the first step would be to speak with the town assessor about lowering the building's assessment. If not, he said, a representative could go before the town's Assessment Review Board. The third step would be to take the town to court, he said.

In another matter, the board voted 5-2 to give performance stipends of $2,937 to each of eight administrators. Only trustees Margaret S. Laurie and Edward M. Lilly voted against paying the stipends.

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