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The next time an Orchard Park School Board member wants some information from the district, he may have to justify his request first.

"Their reason has to be in harmony with the board and where the district is going," said Superintendent Paul J. Grekalski.

For the past couple of years, board members often have been at odds with the administration, with their battles frequently over the budget. Some board members have asked for specific information on spending, sometimes a line-by-line explanation of the budget, to look for areas that could be cut.

School officials say some board members are micromanaging. Some say the volume of requests has taken a lot of time away from the district's ability to take care of day-to-day business.

The board is drafting a policy that would outline the approved procedure for board members asking for information.

That doesn't sit well with some of them.

"That's got to be the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard of in all my life," said board member James T. Crean. "Did they forget that a board member is a resident and a taxpayer, too?"

Crean recently asked for -- and received -- copies of attorney bills dating back to July, when Grekalski came to the district. Mike Dillon, another board member, said he has made a few requests in recent weeks, asking for information related to district finances.

He asked for copies of budgets from several neighboring districts, to compare Orchard Park's budget, he said. He also asked for copies of teachers' contracts from those districts. Orchard Park's teachers have been working without a contract for more than a year.

"We're in the midst of negotiating, and I hear different things," Dillon said. Some people say Orchard Park teachers are overpaid, while others say their contract pales in comparison with others. "I just thought if we'd be engaged in negotiations, we should have a base to talk from."

School officials say they don't have copies of such information from other districts and don't think they ought to spend their time collecting it. If the district won't assemble that information, Dillon said, he will ask the other districts for it himself, under the state's Freedom of Information Law, and would be charged 25 cents per page.

"It's just a matter of do I get it quick or do I have to pay for it," he said. "The administration is afraid we'll uncover something."


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