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.