Residents of the Bethlehem Central School District have overwhelmingly approved a $102 million budget for the 2021-22 school year by a margin of 2,093 to 462, or approximately 82% in favor to 18% opposed.
Voters also elected two candidates to serve on the Bethlehem Central Board of Education. There were two candidates on the ballot:
- Katherine Nadeau received 2,056 votes
- Willow Baer received 1,990 votes
Baer and Nadeau have been elected to serve three-year terms beginning July 1, 2021. It will be the second term for Baer, a current member of the Board of Education. Nadeau will be new to the seven-member Board this year.
Three bus propositions were also approved by district voters. Two of the three propositions will support the purchase of up to five electric school buses. The purchase of the electric buses in 2021-22 is contingent on grant funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The district has announced its intention to transition its bus fleet to zero-emission electric buses and is currently awaiting a funding decision from NYSERDA.
With the voter approval, Bethlehem becomes one of the first school districts in New York state to begin the move to a clean energy bus fleet.
- Bus purchase proposition (75% approval – 1920 yes; 641 no)
- Electric bus infrastructure proposition (76% approval – 1,939 yes; 621 no)
- GPS/Telematics (76% approval – 1,948 yes; 604 no)
“We are so appreciative of this community not only for approving our budget and bus propositions but for its unwavering support of our schools especially this year and last,” said Superintendent Jody Monroe. “We have been living in uncertain times but never once doubted this community’s commitment to education or to the safety and well-being of our students and staff.”
Monroe said turnout for the annual budget vote was greater than expected given the effects of the pandemic. A total of 2,555 residents participated in today’s vote.
“It was wonderful to be able to welcome our community members back to BC,” said Monroe. “We look forward to being able to do more of that when health and safety guidelines for schools allow it.”