May 20, 2014 at BCHS, 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.
If the proposed 2014-15 district budget is approved by voters, the plan will include a property tax levy increase of 2.99 percent. It is expected that the resulting tax rates will decrease by 3.57 percent. Rates are expected to be the same in both the Town of Bethlehem and the Town of New Scotland. To help residents ESTIMATE the budget's impact on their tax bill, use the calculator below. Final tax rates will not be available until August. Click here for calculator>>
MAY BUDGET MEETINGS
Please join us and offer your input on BCSD budget issues. All meetings will be held in the BCHS Library & Media Center.
• May 6, 6:30 p.m.:Meet the Candidates Night (sponsored by the League of Women Voters)
• May 7, 7 p.m.:Budget Hearing
• May 20, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.:Budget Vote, BCHS
• May 21, 7 p.m.:Board of Education meeting
Community discusses bridging a $4.4 million gap
More than 200 residents meet in-person, online to discuss potential savings areas
The district has asked the community what it values most and what it can support when it comes to a Bethlehem education, and more than 200 people made their voices heard at Tuesday night's Community Budget Forum.
Community members who participated in the online forum were asked to complete a survey on the proposed cuts and the possibility of exceeding the tax levy cap. Click the above image to see the results of that survey [PDF].
"I really appreciate the level of community involvement we had Tuesday night," said Superintendent Thomas Douglas. "The discussions held that night will be very important to the district and the board as we move forward in our budgeting process."
At the beginning of the forum, Chief Budget and Financial Officer Judith Kehoe detailed the district's revenues and expenditures, and the $4.4 million budget gap that would still exist even if the community approved a maximum allowable tax levy increase of 2.72-2.98 percent.
After the recap, Superintendent Thomas Douglas and Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Jody Monroe rolled out a list of potential cuts or reductions that may have to be made to bridge the gap. That list included, but is not limited to, cuts in Elementary and Secondary instructional and co-curricular programs, Special Education, Athletics, Administration, Operations and Maintenance and Transportation.
"We understand that none of these potential cuts or reductions is going to be popular," said Douglas, "but to not bring them up for consideration would be irresponsible."
Read Superintendent Douglas' note on becoming involved in the budget process here.