Updated 05/16/2012 11:07 PM
Bethlehem reacts to school budget
Administrators in the Bethlehem school district call their budget passage bittersweet. Sixty-three percent of voters said yes Tuesday. Wednesday, our Erin Vannella visited Bethlehem High School to gauge the district's reaction.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
BETHLEHEM, N.Y. -- "I wasn't surprised because I know that people in Bethlehem were ready to take a stand and vote yes to this budget," said Bethlehem resident Suzanne Mazone.
A $2.3 million school budget is approved at Bethlehem. Sixty-three percent of voters approve a 3.99 percent tax increase and 57 staff cuts.
"I think it improves the state of the economy around here," said Bethlehem resident Kevin Pezze. "It's a tough nut for everybody’ cause we need the money."
"I mean we all struggle," said Mazone. "We all face rising costs but this cost is important. It's worth it. I think it's worth paying it."
"It's worth it," said Bethlehem resident Jennifer McCormick. "These are good schools. This is why we live in Bethlehem."
Dissenters, try as we might, wouldn't go on camera. Taxes are already too high they say and cutting so many positions can only be detrimental. But the district says there was no other way.
"If the budget were to have failed, we would have had to make deeper cuts," said Bethlehem Central School District Superintendent Dr. Thomas Douglas. "If we had had to go to a contingent, we would have had to make $6 million in reductions. That would have been devastating to one of the best school districts in New York State."
The district said it relies heavily on state aid and the local tax levy. This budget, for better or for worse, compensates for the rest.
"There's cuts at every single program," said Douglas. "The question is what is a Bethlehem education valued at in the community."
"In a perfect world, we would want a lot more flush resources for our schools but it is a balance," said McCormick. "We need to account for declining resources and available funds and we make do with what we have."