BEDFORD, N.Y. As the May 15 school budget vote nears, Superintendent Jere Hochman is asking residents who oppose particular cuts to speak out, but to make sure they give good reasons for their suggestions.
I plan to be a bit more assertive when folks say they want to test an item, Hochman said Wednesday night, when the Bedford Central School District Board of Education met at Fox Lane Middle School to continue budget talks.
Hochman said he would like people to ask themselves if the cut they are suggesting is justifiable in terms of the guiding educational principles of the Bedford School District. Hochman said that if a change were to be made to the proposed budget, he would need to see compelling reasons why an item should be preserved and what should be cut instead.
But hopefully they can say we can figure out a way to fund it, Hochman said.
Hochman said that there might be cases where the district can get funding from an outside source like a community agency or a grant. But, there are certain items that will be preserved no matter what, for example, if there are safety concerns involved or a direct requirement from the state.
Hochman also pointed to a number of specific items that he said will always be protected as fully as possible: maintaining low class sizes, keeping special education and counseling programs in place and providing professional development for its teachers.
The board is prioritizing its cuts as best as it can, Hochman said, and unfortunately, budget cuts have been aggressive this year because of the states new property tax cap law, in addition to a number of unfunded mandates.
The board will take a month to hear community input on the budget, and then make any adjustments necessary.
Well take a month, well listen, and then go back to it and reconfigure it, Hochman said.
Hochman will present the revised budget to the school board on April 11, who will then have until April 18 to approve it. Voters will have a chance to vote on the board-approved budget on May 15.
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