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Bedford School Board Adopts Budget After ‘Tricky’ Process

The Bedford Board of Education adopted a budget of $125,057,000 and that will cut 19.5 positions throughout the district.
The Bedford Board of Education adopted a budget of $125,057,000 and that will cut 19.5 positions throughout the district. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella

BEDFORD, N.Y. – A month after Bedford Central School District Superintendent Jere Hochman proposed his 2013-14 school year budget, the Board of Education adopted it after public hearings and modifications—many of which reflected community feedback.

Although Hochman’s initial proposal weighed in at $124,229,131 and carried over 30 position cuts throughout the district , Wednesday night’s adopted budget comes with a $125,057,000 price tag and will cut 19.5 positions throughout the district.

Significant changes were made in just the last week, as the district recouped modified sports, a TV tech position and the much-publicized position of Lauren Beeson as student assistance counselor.

These last-minute additions were made possible thanks to $104,000 commitment of revenue support from outside sources. It is early evidence the community heard Hochman’s recent request for community support and a positive indication of both sides meeting in the middle.

“We have to find out where our line ends and where the community’s line begins,” said Hochman.

Here are some notable details of the adopted budget:

  • It maintains all academic programs with the exception of ACES.
  • It stays under the tax levy cap limit of 3.37 percent.
  • It represents a 1.92 percent increase from this year’s budget.

However, the most notable aspect of this adopted budget has been its process.

District officials and school board members could not recall a budget with more public input or one that presented more challenges to balance.

“We heard from many citizens, parents and students, which has been the best part of all of this,” said Hochman.

The Board of Education echoed Hochman’s appreciation.

“It was truly a process,” said Board of Education President Susan Wollin. “The community was very invested in this budget. We appreciate those who recognize the major cost drivers are driven by the state and are things we can’t control.”

Board of Education member Suzzane Grant called the process “tricky.”

“It was a tricky budget balancing act this year. It was very difficult,” she said. “I’m happy we were able to recoup what we did, however, with 19.5 position cuts still happening, it’s bittersweet.”

Voters will get more details about the adopted budget and a chance to voice their opinions May 8, when the district will hold a school budget public hearing. After that, the vote will be voted on by residents May 21.

“Our budget is dependent on voters,” said Wollin.

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