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Residents give Bethlehem a pass on budget

The day after the vote, Wednesday, May 20, the Bethlehem Board of Education formally adopted contractual changes with the Bethlehem Central Teachers Association union. The union renegotiated its contract with the district to defer cost-of-living pay increases, among other concessions, and also extended its contract until 2012.

The move is expected to save the district $600,000 next year because it will not have to pay the salaries raises for four months.

Superintendent Michael Tebbano said the long months of community meetings, board of education presentations and budget forums paid off in the end. He joked that now the budget has passed, it's time to start working on the next one.

Tebbano told The Spotlight after the polls closed that everyone should be proud of what was accomplished.

We're very excited. It was a hard, long process of trying to make the budget affordable for the community and working in such a way as to maintain our quality programs, Tebbano said. "I'm extremely proud of this community for coming out and giving us a two-to-one mandate on this."

He said the large board of education race shows there is real community interest in the district.

"It was a great board race, there were five candidates for two board seats," he said and went on to congratulate the board winners.

"We're very excited about Charmaine's role on the board. She's been an outstanding parent advocate in the community, and we're excited to have her," Tebbano said. "We're also very excited that Lynne is going to continue her role on the board. She brings a wealth of experience to the position."

After more than two decades, Lenhardt said she appreciates the continued support.

"I'm thrilled; 21 years is a long time and some people, especially in this era of change, thought that maybe it was time for me to go, so I appreciate the support of the community," she said. "I've always been very committed to the community and the students, and I'm very happy to be able to serve for another three years."

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