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7 retirements from Cheektowaga Central Schools approved as board OKs budget to spend $830,000 less

More than 200 years of institutional knowledge will exit the halls of the Cheektowaga Central Schools this year.

The School Board on Tuesday night approved seven retirements in areas ranging from teaching to support staff.

Trustees offered their best wishes to social studies teacher John Zastempowski, who joined the district in 1980; head custodian Lee Regent, 1980 (1975 considering his part-time employment); head custodian Thomas Raczka, 1980; television technician Dawn Matot, 1979; personnel clerk Karen Pszczolkowski, 1991; senior clerk-typist Mildred Ziarniak, 1995; and computer aide Nancy Zakowicz, 1998.

Board President Renee M. Wilson said the retirements are bittersweet and a great loss to the district. “We wish them well in their future,” she said.

Vice President Brian J. Gould agreed, adding that the moves free up funds in next year’s proposed budget, which the board approved during the meeting.

The final $40.12 million spending plan is about $830,000 lower than this year’s, Superintendent Dennis M. Kane said. One highlight is the district’s ability to retire $12 million in a debt from a 1995 capital improvement project. This will reduce the district’s debt payments by about $1 million per year, Kane said.

Property taxes will make up about $23 million of the budget, up from this year’s $22.81 million. This will increase the tax levy by 0.66 percent.

Once approved by voters, the new tax rate would increase by 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, meaning that taxpayers would pay about $17.31 per $1,000. The owner of a home valued at $100,000 would see a tax bill of about $1,731, an increase of about $47. State aid increased by about 7 percent, to $12.57 million, Kane said.

Wilson noted the value of district representatives voicing displeasure with the Gap Elimination Adjustment and other funding issues with Albany. “I think, a little at a time, it’s making a difference,” she said.

The board also approved abolishing the equivalent of 10.4 teaching positions to free up funds in the budget. Two will be from special education, two from science, two in social studies, two from elementary education, one from English and 1.4 from math.

Also, trustees approved changes to fees and times for outside groups using district facilities. Gould said that there will no longer be use on Sundays, saving the district $16,000. Also, groups will be charged $5 an hour in addition to the $75 application fee. The extra $10,000 in revenue will help to offset the cost of maintenance, Gould said.

Time limits also will be set for building use. Outside groups must exit Pine Hill by 7:30 p.m., while groups using the high school, middle school or Union East Elementary School must leave by 9 p.m.

The board’s next meeting, which will include the annual budget hearing, will be held at 7 p.m. May 5 in the boardroom at the high school, 3600 Union Road.