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Thomas J. Markle will take the reins of the Lancaster School District this summer, filling the vacancy that will be left by the retirement of Joseph L. Girardi.

The Lancaster School Board voted unanimously, 7-0, Tuesday night to hire Markle, who is currently the superintendent of the Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District.

The board negotiated a three-year contract with Markle that sets his salary at $136,000 and does not provide for any raises. He will receive fully paid coverage through an HMO, 20 vacation days and $3,000 toward moving expenses. The contract calls for Markle to move into the district within six months.

Board member Debra Simme, who terms herself a fiscal conservative, made a brief statement after the vote.

"I have no problem hiring Mr. Markle. I am completely satisfied that he will get the job done," she said. "But I can't justify paying him 10 percent more than Dr. Girardi's current salary."

Girardi currently earns $119,000.

Few comment on Sloan school budget

Despite a proposed tax-rate hike of about $3, the comments were few from a sparse crowd attending a public hearing Tuesday on the proposed 2003-04 budget of $21.1 million for the Cheektowaga-Sloan School District.

If the budget is approved by voters June 3, Cheektowaga residents would face an additional tax hike of $2.89 more per $1,000 of assessed valuation, bringing the rate to $37.62. In West Seneca, the rate would increase by $3.21, to $41.81.

That would mean roughly $141 more per year for the average Cheektowaga resident with a house assessed at $47,500. For West Seneca residents, under the same criteria, it would mean an extra $152.48.

Cheektowaga soccer sign-up under way

There still is time to sign up for coed indoor soccer with the Cheektowaga Parks, Recreation and Youth Services summer program.

The league for 16- to 20-year-olds will start in June, and games will take place Saturday nights on the air-conditioned rec center sport court. Teams must consist of a minimum of eight players, with at least three female players.

Sign-ups will be taken as teams or individuals. Teams will be accepted until June 1. Call the soccer hotline at 897-7202, Ext. 779.

Maryvale candidate states goals

Watching taxpayer dollars while retaining sound educational programs is the goal of Maryvale School Board candidate Nicholas R. Giammarise.

He is running to fill the year remaining on the term of Grace E. Bodkin, who resigned. He will face Richard T. Augustine and Anthony J. Cervi on the ballot June 3.

Giammarise, 48, a 1972 graduate of Maryvale, is a sales professional for a manufacturing firm.

"I believe that we need to be very fiscally responsible to the taxpayers without sacrificing the children's education," he said.

He is active in North Cheektowaga Little League and coached baseball and soccer.

He said that the current board has done a "tremendous" job and that he would work to continue the positive initiatives.

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