While in most cases a contingency budget allows for a slight increase in the year-to-year budget to maintain programming, the ongoing economic crisis this year would see the district facing another $1.5 million in cuts on top of those made in the proposed budget.
According to Superintendent Michael Tebbano, a contingency budget would likely result in further teacher layoffs, sharp cuts into the athletics program and across the board budget reductions for every department.
Such a scenario could decimate the district, he said in March.
Voters last turned down a budget in 2006, but passed a revised budget a month later.
In addition to the school budget, voters will also see three propositions on the budget.
One is for the proposed $3,782,023 Bethlehem Public Library Budget. It's roughly $25,000 less than the 2009-10 budget.
If approved, the tax levy would see no increase, leaving the estimated tax rate at $1.22 per $1,000 of assessed home value in Bethlehem and $1.21 in New Scotland.
There are also three candidates for two, 5-year terms on the library Board of Trustees. Voters will have a choice between Jeremy Martelle, John McCarthy and Mitchell Goldstein.
Also on the ballot will be a proposal for the purchase of school buses. The district would bond $1.4 million to purchase 15 vehicles"11 large buses, four medium ones"which would equate to zero growth in the Transportation Department's bus fleet.
The proposition is $200,000 higher than last year's, even though fewer vehicles are included. The cost of steel and new EPA emission standards are driving up the price of vehicles, according to the district.
Voters will be asked to approve or disapprove of an increase in the walking distance from the BC High School. Now, students living within one-half-mile of the school are not provided with busing. The proposition, if passed, would double that distance at an estimated savings of $10,600.