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District hopeful of reducing budget

The goal of Fredonia Central School District administrators is to pare down the current 2010-11 budget proposal to a zero percent increase in spending, Paul DiFonzo, district superintendent, told the School Board Tuesday night.

John Forbes, business administrator, released the third draft of the district's budget, now totaling $28.3 million. At this point, the draft shows a tax levy of $15 million, an increase from last year of 18.8 percent.

Forbes commented, however, "We have a lot of room to bring this down in the next two weeks," Forbes said.

DiFonzo added that the district could be looking at a 10 percent increase in the levy next year.

The district expects to lose $1.3 million in state aid in 2010-11. DiFonzo said 2011-12 could be worse, with the loss of federal stimulus money and the potential for more state aid cuts. "We're doing the best we can during a very difficult time," he said.

DiFonzo added that the priority is to maintain quality educational programming for the district's children.

A special board meeting to review and discuss the budget will be held at 6:30 p.m. April 8 in Room 636 of the high school. The annual budget hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 11 in Room 636. The budget vote is set from 2 to 9 p.m. May 18 in the high school cafeteria. Voters also will fill one five-year board seat currently held by Daniel Ihasz, the board's president. Petitions nominating candidates for the seat are available in the district office. The petitions must be filed at the district office by April 19. DiFonzo also reported on the impact of moving the district's preschool through second-grade students from Wheelock School to the district's main campus next school year.

The estimated cost of the move and remodeling work at the main campus will be $56,975. The projected savings from the move total $813,908, because of decreases in staffing, transportation and food and cleaning services. Annual revenue generated from the move totals $235,098. The Dunkirk Central School District will lease Wheelock School rooms from Aug. 2 through July 31, 2011, for $197,500.

The move will take place from July 5 through Aug. 9. DiFonzo said all of the information about the move is on the district's Web site. The board meets again in regular session at 6:30 p.m. April 13 in Room 636 of the high school.

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