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Bethlehem school district plans budget forums

The only "silver lining" of the governor's proposal, according to Bethlehem Board of Education President James Lytle, was that the district would still get funding for the planned full-day kindergarten conversion.

Even though aid is being cut, Paterson's budget included a "full-day conversion aid," which is designed to help districts with the costs of starting a full-day kindergarten program.

In June 2006, the Bethlehem Board of Education approved implementing the full-day program in September 2009, and board members said at the Dec. 17 meeting that the school would continue with the program as planned.

"In a year when state funding for education is decreasing, we are pleased to see that the governor's proposal includes the full-day kindergarten aid," Lytle said. "We are, therefore, reaffirming that the district will make good on its promise to the community and begin the full-day program as scheduled, without imposing any undue burden on taxpayers in the coming budget."

The budget forums will be held on Jan. 12 and 26, and then on Feb. 2 and 9. While the topics covered and questions answered at each forum will differ, Tebbano said, those interested in attending should note that they can ask a question or provide input on all topics at any of the sessions.

The school district released the following schedule and tentative agendas:

Jan. 12: Welcome; brief intro on 2009-10 budget issues; presentation: survey information; frequently asked questions and answers; and a public input/questions session.

Jan. 26: School budget basics in 10 minutes; presentation: state aid issues; budget areas and costs: An overview; frequently asked questions and answers; and a public input/questions session.

Feb. 2: Presentations: Academic program/class size, existing areas of savings/efficiency; frequently asked questions and answers; and a public input/questions session.

Feb. 9: Address remaining questions; frequently asked questions and answers; and a public input/questions session; and a board of education budget development schedule/outline.

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