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Fredonia school budget trim urged

The Fredonia Central School District's proposed 2007-08 budget needs to be trimmed back even more, Superintendent Paul DiFonzo told School Board members Tuesday night.

Business Administrator John Forbes gave an overview of where the budget currently stands.

The $26.5 million proposal represents a 4.25 percent increase in spending from last year. Of that spending, $17.1 million is for payroll, an increase of $676,247, and $4.7 million is for benefits, an increase of $314,118.32 -- the latter category blamed on an 11.4 percent increase in health insurance costs.

The total tax levy would be $12.4 million, and tax rates would be $96.47 per $1,000, up $5.83, in Pomfret; $29.38, up $1.78, in Arkwright; $28.26, up $1.71, in Portland; $26.29, up $1.59, in Sheridan; and $23.20, up $1.40, in Dunkirk.

"Bear in mind," Forbes said, "this is still a proposal and not the final. These rates will change."

DiFonzo added, "We want to get down to a contingency level, plus equipment."

The line item for Board of Cooperative Educational Services spending will rise 13.57 percent -- to $2.2 million. Forbes said these costs are driven by special and occupational education.

Transportation costs are projected to increase by $64,362 and utilities,$25,000.

A budget hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 8 in the high school library, before the start of the regular School Board meeting.

Residents will get a chance to vote on the budget from 2 to 9 p.m. May 15 in the high school cafeteria.

Also, residents can e-mail questions about the budget to the Board of Education at
In other matters, the board accepted the retirement of special-education teacher/elementary principal Phyllis Steinberg.

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