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Bethlehem school district proposes reduction plan

The Bethlehem Central School District says it needs to make some cuts in order to make its budget viable.

The district's board of education listened to Superintendent Michael Tebbano's three-tiered reduction plan at its Wednesday, Feb. 25, meeting.

The suburban school district is currently facing a loss of millions of dollars in state aid under Gov. David Paterson's proposed budget, even in light of an estimated $1 million from the federal government's stimulus package. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-Brooklyn, released a report Wednesday, Feb. 25, that shows Bethlehem will be receiving just over $1 million in federal funds.

Tebbano and Board of Education President James Lytle have warned about tough decisions facing the school as a result of state cuts in education. Tebbano's reduction plan will outline proposals to reduce Bethlehem's expenditures and look at possible new revenue sources.

In Tebbano's plan, the district can cut nearly $1.46 million in the first tier, an additional $990,000 in the second tier and then an additional $2.15 million in the third. The tiers, totaling more than $4.5 million in cuts, are just the starting point for the district's budget process, according to Tebbano, as the board of education will be going over the budget department-by-department over the next several weeks.

"We have no idea what direction the state will eventually go," Tebbano said at the meeting. "We are planning for the worst case scenario and that's why these numbers are in front of you and how it impacts the budget.

"We don't know for sure on what's happening on the federal and state level, some people think that now we have special stimulus money coming that our problems are solved," Tebbano said of the funds. "They are not solved, they're even worse because we are not qualifying for the Title 1 money."

He said the $1 million is slated for special education needs and that other funds are necessary to help balance his district's budget.

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