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Optimism expressed on fiscal health

Officials of the Akron Central School District remain optimistic about the district's fiscal condition in the face of the turmoil in the national financial markets and New York State's budget deficit.

Treasurer Susan B. Brewer told the Board of Education on Wednesday that the district just obtained a rate of 4.38 percent on a 180-day certificate of deposit for $2 million from M&T Bank.

"We're very comfortable with that number," she said.

She and Cynthia M. Tretter, district business administrator, said they are monitoring accounts and investments nearly daily with banks with which the district does business.

For instance, the banks are continuing to offer rates ranging from 2 to 2.18 percent on money market accounts, Brewer said.

Both women participated recently in a conference call with state officials on fiscal matters pertaining to all school districts, including state aid projections and the safety of deposits. The State Legislature is to reconvene Nov. 18 to consider several measures relating to the deficit.

Brewer said that $5.8 million has been collected in school taxes -- they were due Oct. 15 -- which is about $200,000 less than last year. She said the drop is not surprising considering the tough economy.

In response to a question from board member Daniel J. Caprio, Brewer said that district officials are continuing to monitor fuel costs and that "we're well within the budget."

Noting that the Thousand Islands School District in Clayton has converted to natural gas as fuel for its bus fleet, he asked, "Are we looking at this?" Caprio pointed out that there are three natural gas wells on district property.

School Superintendent Robin B. Zymroz said the district "is looking at all alternatives," including hybrids.

In other business, the board approved two appointments:

Bryan Krull, full-time, short-term substitute social studies teacher from Oct. 14 to Jan. 23, at a daily rate of $120.

Kathleen Littman, 26-week probationary position as a licensed practical nurse, effective Monday, at $16 an hour.

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