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BC budget passes

The day's voter turnout eclipsed numbers from the past few years. Last year, more than 1,200 fewer votes were cast. Voters filled the district's sole polling place in the last hours and even last minutes of the day.

Delmar resident and Siena student Paul Amodeo said he voted against the budget because he knows the effect of property taxes, even if he doesn't directly pay them yet.

"I know right now it doesn't really impact me too much, but I'm told it will," he said.

Emily Barbato, however, said she voted for the budget even though her son attends a private school.

"I think the kids of this community deserve the best education they can get," she said. "I don't have a problem with it, it goes to a good cause."

Voters across the state marked ballots without a complete picture in place, though. The state budget remains weeks overdue, and while sharp reductions in state aid are expected, resulting in cuts across the state's schools, the exact figures won't be known until a budget is adopted. BC officials approached the budgeting process assuming a $2.5 million reduction under Gov. David Paterson's executive budget would be enacted.

The school budget represents a 0.8 percent spending increase from this year's budget, and carries an estimated 3 percent tax levy increase.

The estimated tax rates will rise 60 cents in both Bethlehem and New Scotland to $19.70 and $18.90 per $1,000 of assessed property value, respectively. Rates should be finalized late in the summer.

The district made cuts across most areas of the program during the budget process. Among the reductions are 15 faculty, 10 various staff and administrative positions, the elimination of field trip funding and bevy of line items like clubs and technology upgrade budgets.""

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