You have questions.
We have answers.
Q: We keep talking about the budget gap assuming a tax levy increase
but I thought the law capped taxes at 2?
A: Actually, the so- called Tax-Cap Law does NOT restrict increases at all, it only determines the maximum allowable tax levy a district can pass with a simple majority. For BCSD, that increase is 2.94%.A tax levy increase of more than 2.94% would require 60% approval by voters. Read more about the law here.
Voters approve $88.2 million spending plan
Unofficial numbers show that the Bethlehem Central School District proposed 2012-13 budget has passed with 62.66 percent of the vote, with 4,035 votes for and 2,405 against.
Based on preliminary numbers, the Bus Proposition has also passed with approximately 51 percent approval, with 3,244 votes for and 3,115 against.
“We are greatly appreciative to the voters of Bethlehem for recognizing that a BC education is one worth investing in,” said Superintendent Dr. Thomas Douglas. “These were difficult decisions made during this budget process, and we thank the community for their support.”
The $88,203,000 budget carries a tax levy increase of 3.99 percent, which exceeds the district’s “maximum allowable tax levy” of 2.94 percent under the state’s new Tax Levy Limit legislation. Overall spending in the budget increases 1.5 percent over the current year's budget.
In order to bridge a budget gap of more than $7.7 million, the district is using $1.75 million in reserve funds and is cutting $3.3 million from the current spending plan. These cuts include more than 57 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, including 22 in instruction, 34 in support and 1.4 in administration.
“These cuts are certainly deep and will alter what is considered a quality Bethlehem education, the community’s support of this budget puts us on a path of financial stability and maintaining educational excellence,” said Board of Education Diane Giacone Stever.
Also on the ballot was the Bethlehem Public Library budget which passed by a margin of 4,111 to 2,188.
Incumbent Board of Education members Charmaine Wijeyesinghe and Lynne Lenhardt were re-elected to three year terms.
There were a record number of 6,440 voters this
year. Thank you all for your participation!