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District costs for upgrading field detailed

The Depew School District has spent nearly $10,800 on renovations since resuming responsibility for Dawson Field.

The district-owned field on Columbia Avenue had been under the jurisdiction of the Depew Village Recreation Department for a number of years before the district took back responsibility for it this year. In a cost-cutting move, the village had informed the district it would no longer be maintaining the field.

Superintendent Jeffrey Rabey, responding to questions at last month's Board of Education meeting about work being done at the field, said Tuesday that in order to restore the field for varsity baseball use, the district purchased red clay for the infield and used two pallets of clay bricks for the pitcher's mound and home plate. It also installed safety receiver covers.

"The $10,796 cost came from the district's Buildings and Grounds Department budget, he said.

Buildings and Grounds Superintendent John Wilson "visits the field at least once a week to check on conditions," Rabey said. He added that the field also is checked on a daily basis to make sure the gates are locked when the field is not in use and to report on when it needs to be mowed.

In a follow-up to another question from a district resident at April's meeting, Rabey said the 17-member Superintendent's Budget Advisory Council included seven nondistrict residents. They included five local and state legislators whose districts include Depew and the leaders of two service organizations "that serve the businesses and students within our school district."

"The attendance rate for the school district residents, however, far exceeded the nonschool district residents, and thus [they] had a greater influence in the overall process," he said.

The board held its regular monthly business meeting in Cayuga Heights Elementary School, where district residents were voting from noon to 9 p.m. on the 2012-13 budget and two board seats.

Among items it approved was a second one-year extension on Rabey's contract, which now runs until June 30, 2017. Rabey, who joined the district in August 2010 on a five-year contract, is forgoing a pay raise for next year. Last year, the board approved a similar extension.