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Board adopts $36.9 million budget

The Lackawanna School Board on Saturday adopted a $36.9 million 2007-08 budget proposal that would eliminate up to 10 jobs and result in a $13 tax increase for the average homeowner.

City residents will vote May 15 on the proposed spending plan.

Superintendent Paul G. Hashem said the board cut $1.2 million in expenditures, but he said the cost to taxpayers will increase because of contractual increases in salaries and benefits, especially health care.

"Those are huge increases," Hashem said after the board met Saturday. "We made all the cuts we could make without really hurting programs."

If approved, the budget will increase taxes by 4.9 percent, but the increases actually paid by homeowners will be relatively small because of increases in the state's STAR exemptions, Hashem said.

"The average homeowner would pay an additional $13 for the year, and senior citizens would pay an additional $1.41," the superintendent said.

The proposed budget would eliminate one administrative position, one maintainance job, one custodial job, three long-term substitute teachers and up to four full-time teachers.

Board members John Makayenko, Ronald Miller, Kevin Rozwood and Steve Hetey voted in favor of the spending plan, while board President Annette Iafello, Vice President Michael G. Sanders and board member Dennis Chudzik voted against it.

e-mail: dherbeck@buffnews.com

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