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DUNKIRK – The Dunkirk Board of Education on Thursday night approved a $40.8 million spending plan to be put before the voters in May.

Board members gave unanimous approval to a plan that would have the tax levy remain the same at $9.6 million. The tax rate may fluctuate depending on the equalization rate or a change in the assessment of a home.

On the projected revenue side of the budget were several payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements, with the largest being a projected $4 million from NRG. Recently the district received word that the steam-energy plant in Dunkirk would remain operational for at least two more years.

Leaving the tax levy at the 2012-13 rate allowed the budget to increase slightly, by 1.54 percent.

Among the items listed as cost savings were several retirements. Board members approved the following retirements effective July 1: Col. Charles Chasler, Junior ROTC instructor; Kathryn Civilette, physical education teacher; Mary Delpopolo, reading teacher; John Lembke, technology teacher; Catherine Lichorat, math teacher; Abigail Nieves, counselor; Diana Stelley, reading teacher; and Linda Vallone-Panek, English as a second language teacher.

The public hearing on the budget will be at 7 p.m. May 9.

Voting on the budget will be held from noon to 9 p.m. May 21.

There will also be three vacancies on the School Board. Two terms are for five years, and one is a one-year term to fill the vacancy created when Roosevelt Haynes retired.

Petitions to run for the board are available in the clerk's office and require signatures of at least 33 persons.

Board members listened to a presentation by David O'Rourke, superintendent of the Erie II Chautauqua Cattaraugus Board of Cooperative Educational Services. He explained that he has been visiting all 27 schools in the BOCES district and asking school board members to participate in a survey of their district needs and any issues they may have with BOCES services.

O'Rourke, a former Dunkirk High student, has been the BOCES superintendent since July.

Board members authorized several contracts for the continuing capital improvement projects at the campus.

Additionally, it was agreed that a five-acre parcel of land would be leased to the city of Dunkirk for sports and recreation uses at a cost of $1. The land, located between Marauder Drive and Lucas Avenue, is currently unused.