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Budget increase trimmed to 4.4% amid rising costs

Fredonia School District officials have pared an additional $300,000 from next year's proposed budget, reducing it to $25.6 million, or an increase of 4.4 percent.

At a board meeting Tuesday night, John Forbes, the district's business administrator, said that under the latest draft, salaries and benefits total $16.5 million, an increase of about 5.1 percent.

He also pointed to major increases in salaries and benefits, including health insurance, expected to increase by $129,000; teacher retirement costs, up by $75,000; and employee retirement system, up $25,000.

Forbes also said utility costs will increase 45 percent, or about $100,000, and added that spending on utilities this year is $70,000 over budget.

The district's annual budget hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. May 9 in the library of the high school at 425 E. Main St. A board meeting will follow.

Residents will vote on the budget from 2 to 9 p.m. May 16 in the high school cafeteria.

Residents with questions on the budget can e-mail them to:

In other matters, the board:

* Approved a four-year contract with Civil Service Employees Association, from last July 1 through June 30, 2009. It provides an average pay increase of 3.9 percent per year.

* Announced that residents who want to run for a five-year seat on the School Board have until April 13 to file a petition in the district office.

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