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BC school board adopts budget

$88.2M spending plan will challenge the tax cap

— The adopted spending plan calls for cuts to electives resulting in larger class sizes, phasing out the Chinese language program, reducing 20 percent of all clubs at the middle and high school levels and eliminating the gymnastics program. The district is also working on a plan to implement centralized bus stop locations, meaning some students in higher grade levels would need to walk farther to reach a bus stop.

The new plan would save most special education programs and positions, as well as nearly all athletic programs. Douglas said parents should remember the board passes a spending plan, not a line-by-line budget, and changes could happen occur up to and into the 2012-13 school year.

The proposed tax levy would mean a home assessed at $100,000 would pay an additional $81 per year. The district is recommending that residents use the new tax calculator on the district’s website to determine how much they would pay based on the new tax levy increase.

Douglas commended the community and the Board of Education for "hard work throughout this difficult process." He said he’s unsure of where the board would set the levy increase if the budget should fail the first time.

“Those are still discussions that need to be had,” Douglas said.

Over the last two years, more than 60 full-time positions have been reduced throughout the district. In addition, the Clarksville Elementary School was closed this school year, saving the district about $840,670.

“We’ve used our reserves and we’ve tightened our belts,” said Board President Diane Giacone Stever in a statement. “And at the end of the day we as a board feel it’s our responsibility to our students, parents and community to put forward to the public a budget that preserves the excellent educational experience Bethlehem Central schools are known for.”

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