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BC talks athletics cuts

Four-level sports could be reduced to three levels, maintenance eyes $94k in reductions

— Booster clubs have played an important support role after previous budget cuts, with around $108,000 contributed by outside clubs so far this year. The clubs have paid for supplies, equipment, membership fees, track coach salaries and benefits and non-league contest official and transportation expenses.

“I can’t speak enough in terms of what our community does for our athletic programs and our students athletes,” DeMeo said. “We have been fortunate over the years to just have great support.”

On the operations and maintenance side, prior reductions to staffing have resulted in a lean crew, but acceptable cleanliness levels have been maintained, according to Director of Facilities Gregg Nolte. There is around 1 million square feet maintained between the district’s seven buildings that sit on 260 acres.

Nolte said the district’s Operations and Maintenance Department is the “most cost effective” one in the suburban council when comparing districts of similar size.

“This recognition didn’t happen overnight, it came with a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” Nolte said. “(Operations and Maintenance) continues to operate leanly even after our facilities grew about 30 percent with the past bond.”

No positions are up for elimination in the proposed budget. The department consists of 55 full-time equivalent positions — 37 custodians, 14 maintenance workers and four administrators. This year’s budget cut one custodial position. Salaries are around 60 percent of the department’s budget and total more than $3 million.

Nolte proposed reducing equipment purchases, special projects, maintenance programs and other items for around $94,000 in reductions. If the capital bond is approved on March 12, then he proposed reducing the department’s capital outlay funding by $100,000.

The district has had some trouble finding substitute custodians, according to Nolte. He suggested increasing the district’s offered rate from $9 per hour to $10 per hour. BC’s rate is the lowest in the area, he said, with the average amount of 11 districts polled by Bethlehem falling at $10.80 per hour.

“I have a list of about 50 subs that we used to call about a year to two years ago and that list is down to about 25 people,” he said.

The department is also proposing purchasing a new snowplow truck for around $49,000. Nolte said the department hasn’t purchased any equipment since the 2008-09 budget.

BC’s next budget workshop will be on Wednesday, March 6, when the K-12 instruction and technology budgets will be discussed. The school board is scheduled to adopt a budget April 17.

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