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Budget draft shows $1 million cut

The second draft of the proposed 2009-10 Fredonia Central School District budget shows a $1 million reduction in spending from the first version unveiled in late January.

District Business Administrator John Forbes reviewed the revision during a meeting of the School Board on Tuesday night.

Totaling about $28 million, the spending plan proposes $17.95 million for salaries and benefits next year, a 1.24 percent increase.

Group health insurance reflects a 16.5 percent increase, at $2.7 million.

Forbes said he hopes to lower the cost of health insurance, especially that of Community Blue, which has quoted the district a 20 percent rate hike.

The lowest-cost insurance is Chautauqua County Health Plan, which would increase its rates an estimated 13 percent.

Other components of the revised budget:

* A 37 percent hike, or $128,464 increase, in unemployment insurance -- up dramatically because of the state's expanded benefit period, beyond 26 weeks, officials said.

* A $54,577 jump in the amount allocated for equipment, most for the Maintenance Department. School Board member Rosie Joy questioned why maintenance needed a new $37,700, one-ton dump truck when the current one runs fine but is showing some rust. She suggested spending money on getting rid of the rust.

* The Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Cooperative Educational Services contract will see a 3.9 percent increase, with total standing at $2.3 million. District contractual expenses will jump 5.8 percent to a total of $3.7 million.

* Officials noted elementary, middle and high school administrators have been working with the teaching staff to lower costs for classroom materials and supplies. The proposed budget shows a decrease of $22,270 on the primary grade level, $8,892 at the elementary level, $21,886, middle school, and $35,705, high school. All cuts, official said, were made without affecting the quality of education.

Board members will review further budget revisions when they meet meet next at 6:30 p.m. March 10 in Room 636 of the high school.

In other business:

* Joseph Reyda, who resigned as assistant high school principal and interim administrator for grants management and professional development, was appointed director of instruction/chief information officer for the district at an annual salary of $93,000.

* A report was offered on the trip by 41 students from Brocton and Fredonia Central School districts who, along with chaperones, traveled to the inauguration of President Obama in Washington.

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