BETHLEHEM — The Bethlehem Central District has proposed a $100.8 million budget for the 2019-2020 school year, for which locals can vote on Tuesday, May 21 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the BCHS gym.
This proposed budget — adopted unanimously by the district’s Board of Education during its April 3 meeting — would increase spending by 2.06 percent and carry a tax levy increase of 2.03 percent, which would be below the district’s tax cap for the seventh consecutive year.
According to a district’s press release, the budget would cause an estimated 1.06 percent tax rate increase for property owners in Bethlehem, or an estimated increase of $56 per $250,000 in assessed home value. It would also increase New Scotland property owners’ tax rate by 5.46 percent, indicating an increase of around $285 per $250,000 in assessed home value. The district noted that such tax rate changes are estimates for now and they are finalized in August.
“This budget was developed to honor the district’s mission to educate and prepare all students to reach their potential,” said Superintendent Jody Monroe. “The budget we have proposed and that the board has adopted, supports our academic programs and ensures healthy learning and development for all children who attend our schools.”
Besides the proposed budget, the district is looking into decreasing its fleet of buses by one large bus, and is proposing a bus replacement referendum on the May 21 ballot. This proposal seeks to replace four large buses and 10 smaller, 30-passenger buses which have been aging through the years, at a cost of $1,088,500. It is estimated that the final cost to local taxpayers is $413,630 and the debt service cost is being reimbursed by the state at a rate of 62 percent.
Also, voters can elect two Board of Education members as Michael W. Cooper’s and Jonathan Fishbein’s seats will expire on June 30. Their seats are each for a three-year term to expire on June 30, 2022; nominating petitions are due this Monday, April 22 and the slate of candidates will be announced shortly afterwards.
For more information, visit www.bethlehemschools.org/board-adopts-proposed-2019-20-school-district-budget.