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Orchard Park to adjust class size guidelines

Orchard Park Central School Board members are looking at returning guidelines for class sizes to levels last seen in 2008-09 school year.

For some grades, that means a reduction of as many as three pupils, but the change is just on paper, and no change in staffing is anticipated. Superintendent Matthew McGarrity said the number of children in classes in kindergarten through sixth grade in recent years has not been as high as the guidelines would permit.

"We haven't come near those, so we wanted to make those adjustments," he said.

The superintendent also briefly discussed the proposed $97.54 million 2017-18 budget Tuesday night. The proposed budget does not include any new programs of student achievement, he said.

At this point, there is a budget gap of $362,868 between expenditures and revenues that are within the tax cap, said Jeffrey R. Petrus, assistant superintendent for business and support services. The proposed budget uses the governor's proposal for state aid, although the district is hopeful the State Legislature will increase aid for schools.

"We'll keep an eye on those," McGarrity said of state aid figures, adding, "The administrative team will continue their work this week on that gap, as we move ahead."

The budget would add a full-time special education teacher and special education teacher aide at Windom Elementary, McGarrity said.

The board is expected to adopt the budget at its April 4 meeting.

The May 16 budget vote also will include a proposition on buying eight buses, and a proposition that would set up a capital reserve fund of up to $10 million. If voters approve the creation of the fund, the School Board could place up to $10 million in the fund over the next 15 years. Residents would vote in a future election on using money in the fund for a capital project.


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