Budget Vote:
May 20, 2014 at BCHS, 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Budget Planning Calendar

Please join us and offer your input on BCSD budget issues. All meetings will be held in the BCHS Library & Media Center.

February 26, 7 p.m.:Presentation of proposed 2014-15 budget. Focus on Transportation, bus replacement plan, fringes, insurance, debt service. Discussion and tentative decisions.

March 5, 7 p.m.:Special Education, Technology, revenue. Discussion and tentative decisions.

March 19, 7 p.m.:Operations and Maintenance, Athletics. Discussion and tentative decisions.

April 2, 7 p.m.:K-12 instructional staffing and programming. Discussion and tentative decisions.

April 22, 7 p.m.:Budget discussion and final decisions; budget adoption.

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



Bethlehem A to Z heading

School Budget Information

2014-15 Budget Vote: May 20, 2014 at BCHS, 7 a.m. - 9 p.m.


Latest Budget & Finance News

Final state aid figures provide clearer budget picture; major budget update given

April 4, 2014 - The Bethlehem Board of Education moved closer to adopting a proposed 2014-15 budget Wednesday when district administrators updated state aid projections following passage of the final state budget earlier this week. The district will receive an additional $580,000 above what had been allocated under the Governor’s Executive Budget proposal, according to Superintendent Dr. Thomas J. Douglas.

The new revenue will be combined with a tax levy increase and use of fund balance to help fill a baseline budget gap of $4.8 million, identified when the budget development process began in February. District savings and net spending reductions have been identified, through a series of public meetings, to address the gap. The proposed budget is expected to be adopted by the board on or before April 22 and will be put before voters on Tuesday, May 20.

Most of Wednesday’s budget presentation (click here to view a copy of the presentation or click here for complete video coverage of the Board of Education meeting) was devoted to proposed budget expenditures for instructional programs in the next school year. Assistant Superintendent Jody Monroe provided projected enrollment numbers for 2014-15 and proposed staffing to address enrollment and student needs. This would include a net reduction of 3.8 instructional FTEs, including 2.0 elementary teachers districtwide; the elimination of one sixth grade team; and added support for students who struggle with math at the elementary and middle school levels. In addressing the reduction of the sixth grade team, Monroe noted the incoming class is expected to have 75 fewer students than the current sixth grade.

She also said the district is proposing to phase out the Chinese language program at the high school and middle school. As part of the phase-out plan, Monroe said, a program will be established to ensure students currently enrolled in Chinese are able to meet foreign language requirements.

The proposed instructional budget was the last department level presentation before the board. Prior meetings have focused on Special Education, Athletics, Transportation, Operations and Maintenance and Technology.

Most of the savings categories proposed by district administrators will have no impact on the educational program or staffing in 2014-15.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the board began discussion about the amount of tax levy increase that will be needed to address the deficit. The district’s Maximum Allowable Tax Levy (MATL) is 3.12 percent as calculated under the state’s tax cap. A 3.12 percent increase would provide approximately $1,915,000 in revenue.The board will also have to decide what level of fund balance will be used to help fill the gap.

At the meeting, Dr. Douglas said he had hoped more state aid would flow to the district -- and be used for the 14-15 school year budget -- through a substantial reduction of the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). The GEA is an annual amount that has been charged against a school district’s promised state aid as a way to help the state balance its budget since 2010. Since that time, Bethlehem has lost more than $18 million in aid to the GEA.

“Our community was strong in advocating for an end to the GEA,”said Dr. Douglas. “Unfortunately, leaders of the Assembly and Senate, while providing a boost to aid in some areas, fell short of addressing Bethlehem’s most critical funding issue which is the Gap Elimination Adjustment.”

The next budget meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. at Bethlehem High School in the cafeteria.

Athletics, Operations & Maintenance are focus of March 19 budget presentatation

March 21, 2014 - The Board of Education continued its public discussion of the 2014-15 school district budget with a closer look at Athletics and Operations & Maintenance. New Athletic Director Len Kies provided an overview of the district's Athletics programs, student participation, and costs associated with sports in Bethlehem.

Chief Business and Financial Officer Judith Kehoe offered a summary of the state budget process to date and reviewed updated district budget figures. Click here to view a copy of the presentation or click here for complete video coverage of the Board of Education meeting.

Budget development continues with look at Special Education and Technology

March 7, 2014 - Public discussion of the school district's budget development for the 2014-15 school year continued March 5 with presentations by Kathy Johnston, Director of Special Education and Student Services (SESS) and Chief Technology Director, Dr. Sal DeAngelo.

Chief Business and Financial Officer Judith Kehoe also gave an overall budget update in which she discussed efforts to achieve a balanced budget and the challenges that lie ahead. Click here to view a copy of the presentation or click here to view complete video coverage of the Board of Education meeting.

Preliminary budget reveals $4.8 million gap; full GEA restoration could fill bulk of shortfall

Feb. 27, 2014 - The Board of Education began public discussion of the 2014-15 Bethlehem Central School District budget at its meeting on February 26 with a look at preliminary budget figures which show an estimated gap of $4.8 million for the coming school year. READ MORE

Call to Action: The GEA must go says NYSSBA

NYSSBA has delivered a legislative priority paper on the Gap Elimination Adjustment to all 213 members of the state legislature. The paper detailed the devastating impact of the GEA on school districts through program cuts, staff reductions and loss of student opportunities. Given the Governor’s claimed state budget surplus, NYSSBA made it clear that this reduction in state aid for schools must end now. FULL STORY

Lynne Lenhardt, BC board member and President of the New York State School Boards Association explains the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA):


Governor’s budget proposal touts aid increases, but GEA cuts result in a decrease in aid for Bethlehem

In Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2014-15 Executive Budget, released last week, Bethlehem would see an overall increase in aid of $113,548 – or 0.5% – but would still face an overall loss, due to the GEA, of more than $3.46 million. READ MORE

Stand up for our schools: More Than 1,000 People Pack CCHS to Fight For Schools in Crisis

Residents asked to call on state leaders to end GEA

More than 1,000 people packed into Colonie Central High School on Thursday, Jan. 30 to hear students, teachers and school district leaders describe how deep aid cuts from the state have impacted schools in the Capital Region, and 80 of these concerned citizens were from Bethlehem Central.

The Bethlehem Central School District is now asking residents to join the effort to let state leaders and area legislators know that the Bethlehem Central School District and its property taxpayers can no longer absorb huge losses in state aid. READ MORE


What is the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA)?

Learn how BC has lost $15.2 million in aid since 2010-11:


Understanding NY State's "2%" Tax Levy Cap, Year 3

Learn why the cap is not actually 2 percent:



2013-14 BC Budget at a glance

• Total Budget: $90,415,000
• Spending Increase: 2.51%
• Tax Levy Increase: 3.59%  (below so-called “cap” of 3.64%)
• Budget Reductions: $221,000
• Reserves used: $1,750,000


Tax Rates for 2013-14  READ MORE


Video: What is the Value of a Bethlehem Central Education?

In this video, we highlight many of the amazing accomplishments of our students and their varied activities. WATCH VIDEO