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Letter: A thank you to Bethlehem Central budget voters

Editor, The Spotlight:

On behalf of the Board of Education, the BC staff and educational community, I wanted to thank everyone who participated in last week’s school budget vote.

A record 6,470 people voted on the budget! As a relative newcomer to the district and the Bethlehem community, it was refreshing and heartening to see so many people turn out to exercise their democratic right to vote.

I have to be honest, we were pleasantly surprised, and a little overwhelmed at times, by the number of people willing to wait in line to cast their vote. We thank everyone for their patience as we tried to accommodate the lines for the budget vote, the kid’s vote (the freshly baked cinnamon cookie squeaked out a win against Teddy Grahams) and a number of other events at the high school that evening. We hope the participation remains high in future budget votes and we’ll look at ways to avoid the long lines we had last Tuesday night. Additionally, more than 400 of you participated in our anonymous exit survey, and we will post a summary of that survey on the district website as soon as we’re able.

I want to say again, though, Thank You. This is, and has always been, our budget. Determining what is best for the Bethlehem community when it comes to the education of its children does not rest solely with me or with the Board of Education. That right belongs to you, the voters.

So now that the budget vote has passed, what do we, as a school community, do? We get right back to the business of balancing the needs of the community with providing the best education possible. We will also review the many comments that we have received throughout the entire budget season to begin to prepare for the next year and the challenges that it will bring. In all, we will work to continue to explore all avenues of addressing the financial and educational challenges that are still ahead of the district in order to ensure the traditions that Bethlehem Central is known for in the region and across the state.

There is a board meeting on June 6, 7 p.m. at the high school. I hope to see you there.

Dr. Thomas J. Douglas

Superintendent of Bethlehem Central School District

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