Bethlehem Board of Education braces for changes

The face of the Bethlehem Board of Education is changing or at least the faces on the board will be.

During the March 5 board of education meeting, which was primarily reserved for the first budget presentation, there was no shortage of other business and announcements to be made. Before budget talks began, the board unanimously approved changing the venue from the district's middle school to the high school for the May 20 budget vote.

Traditionally, voters went to the middle school to cast their local ballots on school budgets and propositions, as well as vote on local library budgets and trustees. This May, residents will vote at the high school off of Delaware Avenue.

We've been one of the districts that's had the highest turnout," Superintendent Les G. Loomis said at the meeting. Because of congested traffic and limited parking at the middle school, Loomis said the high school would be more adequate for voters.

However, the voting-change decision wasn't finalized until two surprise announcements were made.

First, board member Warren Stoker announced he would not seek re-election in May, and then, to the continued surprise of the board, Robin Storey announced that she, too, would not run for another term.

Both members have served on the Bethlehem Board of Education since 1999, and each had previously served as both president and vice president to the board.

"We clearly don't have enough executive sessions," quipped Board President James Lytle, after the board had just returned from an executive session on personnel matters.

"I hope it wasn't something we said," he joked. "Does anyone else have any surprise announcements to make?"

Stoker and Storey told fellow members that they cherished their time on the board, but it was time to move on.

"Some things never change," Stoker said. "Parents still want the best for their kids, kids still want to learn, and teachers still want to teach. I do encourage people to run for the board."

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