State of the Schools presentation sets the stage for 2023-24 budget discussions

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, Superintendent of Schools Jody Monroe delivered her annual State of the Schools presentation to the Board of Education. The presentation — which included updates on the district’s long-term strategic planning, highlighted annual goals for the current year and looked at five-year enrollment projections — marks the beginning of the district’s budget development for the next school year. 

“We have several tools and measures that guide our decision-making each school year, especially at budget time,” said Superintendent Monroe. “We take a close look at our progress over the past year, our focus areas in the current school year, and gather data that helps us determine where we might be headed as a school community. By doing so, we are better prepared to allocate staff and resources where they are most needed.”

Highlights of the 2023 State of the Schools presentation

  • Strategic Plan & Annual Goals: The district’s five-year Strategic Plan, first introduced in 2019, has been streamlined and revised due to disruptions related to the Covid pandemic. Data collection in the areas of academics, character, community and wellness has resumed and the plan now includes accountability measures and targeted goals through 2026. The district has three goals for the current school year: to cultivate culturally responsive faculty, staff, and classrooms; to increase academic rigor & accountability while maximizing student social-emotional growth, mental and physical health; and to increase community engagement. One of the community engagement initiatives will be introducing ParentSquare in the 2023-24 school year. ParentSquare is an online communications platform and app that is intended to streamline district, school, and teacher-parent communications and improve accessibility.
  • School Climate Survey: More than 3,200 students, staff and parents completed a School Climate Survey in January 2023 on topics related to  Engagement, Safety and Environment. An early review of student data, Superintendent Monroe said, is very similar to results from responses collected from students in both 2021-2022 and in 2019-20 (there was no comparative School Climate Survey in 2020-2021). Full School Climate Survey data collected in January 2023 is being analyzed and will be shared with the school community later in February.
  • Safety Update: Superintendent Monroe provided a brief Safety Update for the Board of Education. The update included a brief review of the Nov. 1 Student Safety forum. The superintendent also informed the Board that the district recently hired an outside firm to conduct a security audit of the district, focusing on access to school district buildings and grounds, security monitoring, communications and emergency management plans. BCSD will be licensed to use the company’s security audit tool on a continuous basis to make updates and revisions as needed in the future.
  • Capital Project Update: The district is awaiting approval from the New York State Education Department to begin the bidding process for the 2021 Capital Project. The project was partially revised in fall 2022 due to due to supply chain, workforce issues, and inflation. Construction is still expected to begin in spring 2023 with a completion target of fall 2024. Superintendent Monroe provided a building-by-building update of that timeline.
  • Enrollment Projections: The Bethlehem Central School District contracts with the Capital District Regional Planning Commission to provide an annual five-year enrollment projection report. Enrollment K-12 in Bethlehem has declined 21.7% since 2007 to a current enrollment of 4,068 in grades K-12. Enrollment is expected to decrease by 1.6% over the next five years to 4,004 by 2027-28. It is estimated that enrollment in grades 9-12 will decrease by 9.7% while enrollment in grades 6-8 and in grades K-5 will increase by 2.0% and 2.4%, respectively, over the next five years. Birth trends and changes in the housing market could impact these projections. 
  • Budget Development: Superintendent Monroe provided an overview of the budget process, a historical look at budget expenditures and tax levies, and shared a calendar of important meetings for the 2023-24 budget development cycle. A calendar of budget meetings can be found below.

You can watch Superintendent Monroe’s State of the Schools presentation on YouTube or view the presentation below:

A copy of the slides used for the 2023 State of the Schools presentation can be found here [PDF]. If you are unable to access the PDF, please contact the BCSD Communications Office at 518-439-3650.

2023-24 Budget Development

All budget presentations take place as part of Board of Education meetings. The meetings are held in Room D122 at the high school and are also live streamed on the BCSD Events channel on YouTube.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

  • Budget Overview

  • Transportation Budget

  • Technology Budget

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

  • Athletics Budget

  • Operations & Maintenance Budget

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

  • Instructional Programs Budget

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

  • Budget Recap

  • Budget Adoption

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

  • Budget Hearing

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

  • Meet the Candidates Night at BCHS (sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Albany County)

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

  • Annual Budget Vote and Board of Education Election

7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Bethlehem Central High School, Gym A