Bethlehem Central School District warns of state aid cuts

Although Gov. David Paterson's proposed mid-term state aid cuts to education appear to be dead, Bethlehem Central School District's Superintendent Michael Tebanno warned that the district must brace for the worst.

We dodged that bullet this week, but I don't know what will happen next week, Tebanno said during the Wednesday, Nov. 19, board of education meeting. "I'm not totally convinced that we dodged the bullet. I'm not totally convinced this whole thing is going to blow over."

Paterson's proposed mid-term cuts were never brought to the floor for a vote during a special session at the capitol in Albany on Tuesday, Nov. 18.

Partisan bickering halted any movement on the proposal after an hourlong "leaders meeting." The governor, however, is expected to cut state aid for health care and for education in his new budget proposal.

Tebanno said that after seeing the political squabbling in the over the budget, and with little being accomplished, that it was going to be "a long cold winter."

"The governor since August has been trying to warn us about the budget crisis," Tebbano said. "Next year, there will be cuts. It is important that the community understand the magnitude of what was proposed, and what could be in store in the months and years ahead."

State Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Delmar, said he was against the mid-term state aid cuts to schools, but he realizes cuts will have to occur in next year's budget.

"I agree with the cuts for next year, but you've got to give notice," Breslin said.

The Albany County senator added that he hopes the governor's proposed cuts for next year will not be as deep as initial projections.

?"Every penny we don'?t get in aid can only be made up for in one of two ways ? by eliminating costs in the form of programs and services, or through property taxes,?" Tebbano said. "?Our pledge to the community is to maintain a high quality academic program and to hold the line on taxes. This won?'t change, but we quite obviously depend on the state?s investment in education to do it.?"

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