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Ken-Ton budget proposal cuts teachers, aides

As many as eight teachers and 15 teacher's aides in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District could lose their jobs under the proposed 2006-2007 budget proposal.

Preliminary figures in the $129.3 million spending plan call for a 4 percent spending increase, or $4.7 million, from the current year and a tax rate increase of about 4 percent, Superintendent Steve A. Achramovitch said during a budget meeting Tuesday.

"We are coming close to finalizing the budget," he said.

The teaching layoffs would be concentrated at the secondary level, especially the middle school, where enrollment is down, Achramovitch said. With the cuts, class sizes would increase in the middle schools from 19 to 23.

Without the layoffs, there would be about 18 pupils per class. The district also is considering cutting two buildings-and-grounds positions and two clerical jobs, possibly through attrition.

Board member Melissa Brinson said she is uncomfortable with the cuts because the district staffing is "already bare-bones," noting that the layoffs won't eliminate work that now will have to be done by other employees.

"We are not getting rid of any buildings," she said, referring to the cuts to the buildings-and-grounds staff. "These positions are needed."

The board also reviewed three options for early retirements, including one with an additional $500,000 for the retirement of 10 teachers, one with $250,000 for the retirement of five teachers and $120,000 for the elimination of a program supervisor and another that includes retirement incentives for 17 teachers.

Board President Daniel T. Cavarello described the budget process as "maddening" and told residents that it's difficult to make decisions on program cuts.

"Don't think for a minute that anybody up here takes any pleasure in doing this," he said.

The board, which will consider a budget April 6, has until April 21 to approve it, Achramovitch said. Residents will cast their ballots on the budget May 16.

e-mail: esapong@buffnews.com

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