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BC prepares for budget adoption

According to the district's athletic department, Bethlehem would play night games when it travels to other schools, but would play during the day, most likely Saturdays, when playing opponents at home.

The interests of residents came through during discussions at board of education meetings in March, as the concerns of various parents, students, and teachers were publicly aired.

One resident the board asked why around 5 percent of the overall budget reductions were taken from the musical department while slightly less than 1.5 percent was taken out of the athletics department.

The board did not specifically address the comment.

Bethlehem has eliminated $2,263,890 from its "rollover" or "carry over" budget from last year. Obligations from its union contracts make up a large portion of the increases that the district must endure annually in order to honor pay raises and other such increases.

This particular area of the budget, salaries, which consists of the majority of the school's budget and has also come under criticism from union members and residents alike.

The Bethlehem Central Teachers Association had re-opened its contract and discussed with the district the possibility of re-negotiating its raises, but talks quickly broke down and no changes occurred.

Some teachers in the district have been critical of district's administrators and staff unions for not doing the same and attempting to renegotiate its contracts.

Tebbano said he will take no raise over the next two years, but said little could be done about contractual raises, which total more than 5 percent for district workers.

The Bethlehem Board of Education is holding a special meeting on Wednesday, April 8, at 7 p.m. to adjourn into executive session "on consideration of contractual issues."

Check www.spotlightnews.com and the April 15 edition of The Spotlight for updates regarding that executive session.

Other district reductions included: a $50,000 reduction in the middle school teaching staff and a $8,600 reduction of the STRIVE program; a $62,500 reduction of the Alternative Education Program (CORE) in the high school; a reduction in the number of athletic contests, saving $8,600 and a $7,000 elimination of uniform purchasing; a $62,500 full-time position in the special education department; and a $12,000 savings for not sending an additional Tech Valley High student.

A complete list of reductions can be found on the district's Web site.

"Our test this year was to make the cuts necessary to put a budget before voters that is responsive to both their calls for tax restraint and the uncertain economic climate while preserving the program," board president James Lytle said in a release. "I believe we have met that test."

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