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Lights out: possibly no night games for Bethlehem athletics

A big point of contention was a proposal to cut the schools' modified sports program all together.

One parent and teacher, Mike Ferguson, said the importance of modified sports is even greater than the higher lever sports clubs because of the age bracket it affects.

"Obviously you have to plan for cuts," he said of the proposed tier two reduction. "But, for me, that's clearly a tier three cut."

The proposed reductions are listed in three different tiers, with the third being the biggest reductions in expenditures. A full list of the proposed reductions can be found on the district's Web site at, www.bcsd.k12.ny.us.

As the discussion went on, the board decided to table a possible modified cut, and said although it had hoped to vote on a preliminary budget by Wednesday, March 25, it appears unlikely at this time.

Board member Lisa Allendorf elicited a large round of applause when she stated, "I think I'd rather keep the modified than hire another mechanic."

Board president James Lytle responded, "We don't have booster clubs for our staff, obviously, and we don't have booster clubs for our mechanics."

The board was asked by a resident if there would there be fewer cuts in the budget if concessions had been made with the Bethlehem Central Teacher Association union before recent talks broke down about its current contract.

Lytle, who has publicly announced he will not seek re-election to the board and therefore will not be in talks during the BCTA contract negotiations next year, said renegotiating the union's more than 5 percent raise would have freed up some funds in the budget.

"Had there been salary concessions, there would have been less hard decisions," he said.

David Rounds, president of the BCTA, said neither the board nor the teachers are to blame for the current economic downturn.

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