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Board OKs capital project proposal

A $34.7 million capital project proposal was approved by the Hamburg School Board this week and will be sent to voters next month for their approval.

The Districtwide Facilities Construction Project will address health and safety items and high-priority upgrades including roof repairs and science rooms in both the high school and middle school. Both buildings also will have all lockers replaced, with some locker improvements at Union Pleasant Elementary, as well.

"These are necessary fixes," Superintendent Steven A. Achramovitch said. "They are 'need,' not 'want,' items."

Achramovitch said a comprehensive building condition report compiled for the district's six facilities showed that $55 million worth of repairs and upgrades will be necessary over time, but only work that must be done within two years is addressed in the proposal.

In other matters, the district released a $56.4 million preliminary budget for 2011-12.

Among other cost-cutting measures, it calls for the reduction of 30 teachers and 23 teacher's aides or clerical staff.

The proposed spending plan, up $1.3 million from the current year, would increase the tax levy by 6.8 percent.

"Things are compounding on an annual basis. Part of what we're looking for in this year's budget is to protect ourselves for next year," Achramovitch said.

Other proposed reductions include two employees from the administration office, one from the maintenance area and a $50,000 cut to the athletic department. Achramovitch said discussions to share an athletic director with the Orchard Park School District failed to yield an agreement.

The superintendent emphasized that the district is looking for feedback and dialogue with the community and is open to changing the preliminary spending plan.

To that end, a number of sessions are scheduled for residents to learn more about and respond to the district's planned capital project and school budget.

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