BETHLEHEM — Bethlehem Central Schools Superintendent Jody Monroe was scheduled to deliver her annual State of the Schools address during the Wednesday, Feb. 7 town board meeting in the BCHS library at 7 p.m., but the meeting has been rescheduled for tomorrow night, Thursday, Feb. 8, due to snowy weather, which resulted in the cancellation of classes on Wednesday. Thursday’s meeting, still scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. in the BCHS library, will officially kick off the public participation portion of the 2018-19 budget planning season, which lasts from fall until the district-wide budget vote in May.
“Beginning Feb. 7 and continuing through March and April, district leaders present their recommendations to the Board of Education,” said BCSD spokesperson Jo Ellen Gardner. “The board deliberates publicly on these recommendations at each meeting throughout budget season. Members of the public can bring their comments and concerns forward at those meetings for consideration by the board and can always contact the district or board directly.”
Asked whether declining enrollment projections will be likely to result in downsizing of staff, Gardner said, “Staff decisions are made based on enrollment and student needs and those recommendations will be presented by district leaders in the coming weeks.
“In the last two years,” she noted, “the district has been restoring staff and programs that had been cut deeply during a prolonged recession. Staff levels are down 14 percent since 2009-10; student enrollment during this time dropped by 11 percent.”
During her State of the Schools address, Monroe is expected to:
Provide an update on the work of the district’s Strategic Planning Committee, which began working last fall to complete a five-year strategic plan for the district by early 2019. The update is expected to include a summary of the results of a community survey, conducted in December, to help guide the committee as it examines BCSD’s mission and vision and identifies goals and strategies for district decision-making over the coming years.
Review current district goals and report on progress in several areas, including: the Power of One Chromebook program that provides students in grades 3-12 a Chromebook device; the introduction of iReady assessments for students in grades K-8, which are aimed at improving personalized, or differentiated, learning; expanded K-5 counseling; and mental health and wellness for students and staff.
Take a look at back at recent budget history, state aid trends and the comparative costs of education in Bethlehem and statewide.
Look ahead at enrollment projections and residential development in Bethlehem.