Bethlehem Board of Education members listen to the public comment on the proposed 2013-14 budget, which it adopted later that meeting by 6-1.
Photo by John Purcell.
continued “At some point, despite the fact that it is unpopular to do so … I think the academics have taken the hit and I think that we do need to cut this level of sports,” Lenhardt said. “Over the years we have cut more in the other areas then we have in sports.”
Freshman lacrosse was already scheduled to be eliminated next school year because there are no opponents.
Maintaining instructional programming
The reductions proposed outside of athletics include deferring a small building project worth $100,000, reducing one hall monitor position at the high school for a $35,000 savings and cutting 0.2 full-time equivalent positions at the high school for around $14,000 in savings.
Administrators said using $1.75 million of reserve funds to balance the budget falls in line with the district’s long term financial plan, despite administrators recommending $250,000 less be used next school year.
“I know the board is going to struggle with this no matter what,” Superintendent Thomas Douglas said. “The reason why we put $1.5 (million) is because we have to step down. If we stay at that level we will have to come up with an additional $250,000 next year.”
Douglas said the state aid situation might be more favorable in the 2014-15 budget as it will be an election year, but he is more concerned about the following year.
If the board followed what administrators recommended, cuts would have been felt in the high school and middle school classrooms with reduced course offerings and social worker availability. The transportation department also would have faced cuts in off site repairs and parts and supplies totaling $50,000.
Reductions to elementary schools were placed far down the list, not appearing until the 25th reduction out of 33 offered. Wijeyesinghe said elementary programming has taken a big hit already.