The North Tonawanda School Board Tuesday directed Superintendent John H. George to put together two 2006-07 budgets -- one, reflecting a 3.9 percent spending increase,and the other a 2.5 percent increase.
"We will compare the two, see what they look like and see what we can cut," said Board President Scott Schultz.
Currently, the estimated budget is $60.2 million, a $3.4 million increase from 2005-06.
The increase was attributed largely to an increase of $413,000 in the state Teachers Retirement System, $80,000 in health insurance, $167,000 in pupil services and $134,000 in maintenance.
District officials expect an estimated $1.3 million increase in state aid. Last year the district received $28.4 million and is hoping to get $29.7 million. Federal aid increased $25,000 to an estimated $250,000 in 2006-07.
The estimated tax levy increase is 10.78 percent. Currently, the tax levy is $23.5 million, and it is projected to increase to about $26 million.
"This isn't unusual at this stage in the process to be looking at those numbers. That's why at the beginning of the meeting I asked the board give us a direction on where you want us to be and that's where we'll end up," George said.
Also during the meeting, the board voted to implement full-day kindergarten.
Trustees David Guido, Deborah Wasieczko, David Rechin and Schultz voted for it. Board members Dennis Pasiak, Robert Arbeiter and Joseph Stringaro voted no.
A spirited discussion was held before the vote. Rechin questioned whether a full-day kindergarten is needed.
Guido, meanwhile, pointed out that North Tonawanda is one of the only districts in the state without a full-day kindergarten program.
"I say it's irrelevant, because so what if everyone in the state started at 2 years old should we start at 2 years old?" Rechin said. "I just want to understand why we're doing it. There should be a bigger emphasis on how the programs are going to be set up, than how long the day is going to be."
Guido noted the district is receiving state funding to cover the cost of converting to full-day kindergarten.
"It's essentially a free program," he said. "Why are we fighting this?"