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BC prepares for budget adoption

With the state's budget abopted, the Bethlehem School District is standing by its current budget reductions and plans to adopt a tentative spending plan on Wednesday, April 22.

The Bethlehem Board of Education didn't officially adopt a tentative budget for voters to look at during its Wednesday, March 25, meeting, but said they wouldn't make any further reductions to its 2009-2010 budget.

All of the reductions are awaiting final vote by the district's board, but as it stands Bethlehem Central will present voters with a 2 percent tax levy increase if promised state and federal funds are delivered.

Some of the reductions were more controversial than others, which led to some changes throughout a lengthy budget process that began back in January.

Superintendent Michael Tebbano took over the reins of the district last July, and said he wanted to make the school budget process more transparent and involve more community involvement.

His first budget as superintendent saw a state budget in turmoil as the national economy soured and plunged into recession.

I just want to make this process as transparent as possible, Tebbano has told The Spotlight on numerous occasions.

Some of the more controversial decisions to date have included: not replacing an Elsmere librarian; eliminating an elementary dean making $81,375; eliminating a full-time Math AIS position at $62,500; the elimination of a full-time high school music teacher making $94,817 and another full-time staff position at the high school for a $62,500 savings; eliminating 5 full-time position for special education aides for a total of $150,000; eliminating all evening games in athletics; and discontinuing paying for ice, greens and lane fees for the hockey, golf and bowling teams.

Board of education members voted to keep modified and freshman level sports after hearing vocal opposition to making such a cut. Spokesman Matt Leon said that night games would continue at Bethlehem through the rest of this year and that the elimination would take effect until after July 1, when the new school year begins.

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