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Vote possible tonight on 3rd budget draft

Orchard Park School Board members could vote tonight on the proposed budget for next year.

Superintendent Joan D. Thomas will present a third draft of the budget for the board to consider that retains elementary school class sizes and does not reduce athletics by more than the 25 percent experienced in this year's budget.

"I am hopeful that the budget I am presenting will indeed be adopted by the Board of Education, since it is the lowest proposed tax levy budget," she said. "It maintains the class sizes, as the board requested."

The board will meet at 6 p.m. in the high school, 4040 Baker Road, and expects to go into executive session. The public session is to start at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

The budget being considered tonight is slightly under $80 million, and would increase the total amount to be collected by taxes by an estimated 5.86 percent, Thomas said.

She was able to achieve savings with the cooperation of the district's four unions, she said.

"All of the associations in Orchard Park came together to work collaboratively to fill the budget gap that was a result of the $2.4 million state aid reduction," she said.

State aid is projected to drop by $2.48 million, or more than 11 percent, from this year's figure.

The superintendent's first budget draft cut one administrator, three teachers and 9.5 support staff positions, and had an estimated tax levy increase of 8.24 percent.

The second draft reduced spending by an additional half-million dollars and used an extra $1 million in fund balance, in part by cutting two elementary school teachers and some interscholastic sports. The tax levy increase was projected to be 5.95 percent under the second draft, but board members wanted to maintain current class sizes.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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