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BC gets grim budget outlook

"If the board isn't interested in supporting a 7-percent tax levy, we need to look at program reductions," Superintendent Michael Tebbano said.

Tebbano put forward the Tier 3 reduction plan, a leftover from cuts made last year that is comprised of the most painful reductions that were avoided. About 14 teachers would be laid off under the plan, as well as 15 support staff and an administrator. Monday and Friday late buses would stop running, some athletics teams would be eliminated and the middle school pool would be closed.

Still, the Tier 3 cuts only amount to less than $2.2 million in savings.

Tebbano made it clear that if the board wishes to reduce the tax levy, it would be impossible to do so through stopgap measures.

"If our goal is to cut the program and bring our costs in line, we're going to have to make some difficult decisions," Tebbano said.

The public will vote on the school budget May 18. If it is defeated, the district can either put the same budget or a new version to a second vote, or go straight to a contingency budget.

A contingency budget is generally a slight increase from the previous year's to allow for inflation while holding the line on programming. This year, however, because the consumer price index is so low, a contingency budget would likely be over $1 million less than the 2009-10 budget, not factoring in state aid cuts.

The Board of Education will be examining different areas of the budget in depth in coming weeks. Opportunities for public comment will be available at the meetings.

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