BC budget passes

Voters in the Bethlehem Central School District have approved by a comfortable margin an $88.3 million spending plan for the 2010-11 school year.

The Tuesday, May 18, vote broke down 3,232 votes to 1,636 votes, or 66 percent in favor. 88 absentee ballots are not included in the figures.

There's a lot of community support for the education in this district, said Superintendent Michael Tebbano from the high school gym after the votes were tallied. "People realize these are tough times, and they're not willing to run out on this school district.

BC residents also approved a proposition to borrow $1.4 million for the purchase of 15 school buses and to increase the walking distance from the high school from one half mile to a full mile, for an estimated budget savings of $10,000.

The votes were 2,528-2,262 for the bus purchase, and 3,326-1,474 to increase the walking distance.

Voters sent Diane Giacone-Stever back to the Board of Education for a second three-year term. She was the top vote getter, with 2,303.

"I'm looking forward to it again," she said after the votes were tallied. She said her first term on the board has seen progress in taking on tough fiscal issues, and she plans to keep moving that agenda forward by finding ways to develop alternative revenue sources.

Joining her will be Michael Cooper, who garnered 1,893 votes.

"I'm thrilled to be able to serve the district," he said.

Cooper acknowledged he'll have a lot of learning to do, and will have to do it quickly to deal with next year's budget.

"I think the next few years are going to be tough on school budgets, and we need to look at every pocket and every corner to see where we can eke out savings," he said.

Grouped with the school district votes was the Bethlehem Public Library Budget. Voters approved the $3,782,023 budget by a margin of 3,110 to 1,1591. Of three candidates running for two openings on the library board of trustees, John McCarthy and Jeremy Martelle won five-year terms with 2,320 votes and 1,975 votes, respectively. Mitchell Goldstein came in third with 1,444 votes.

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