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 following are notes from the group at Tables 5 and 6 at the Community Budget forum. Read more about the forum here.
What are your reactions to the potential reductions listed on the budget worksheet?
The group was concerned about the safety of extending the walking
distances. Also, some members suggested that if more parents wind up
driving their children to school because of this, to stagger
drop-off times to avoid congestion in the lots.
A student stated that she feels like she doesn’t walk far enough to her bus stop and wondered if the district would consider consolidate stops instead of increasing walking distance.
Members of the group asked if the Middle School pool were to close, could the programs be consolidated at the High School level. The comment was made that families must do more on their own – pay for swim lessons, for example.
Group suggested possibly reducing clerical workweek and making support staff 11-month instead of 12-month employees.
Group suggested reducing specials teachers to 0.6 to keep specials
There was a lot of support for cutting 4th grade strings in this group.
How would reducing specials influence the regular education teachers?
Is guidance mandated at the elementary level?
• The group felt that cutting librarians would be bad, as they help
the students so much.
Reducing electives would be OK so long as the cuts were equal among subjects.
Require each student to take lunch and a free period so that class size isn’t overloaded.
•It was unanimous among the group that if there are academic cuts that it’s fair there should be cuts to athletics.
There was support for cutting aides from some in the group who felt
the district had many.
The general consensus was that aides do a lot, but would prefer them being cut as opposed to teachers
Tax levy options
•The group said they would support a 4 percent increase in taxes
levied, but above that would be difficult to support.
•The district also has to be more proactive in its outreach:
Flyers at Price Chopper
Times Union blog
More articles in The Spotlight
•Find better ways to boil down the information - the presentation assumes a certain level of education.
•Communicate the per-student costs/cuts
•Find unique ways to communicate tax information (ex. “This increase in your tax bill be equal to 10 cups of coffee”)
Read Superintendent Douglas' note on becoming involved in the budget process here.