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Bedford Schools Choose Three Mandates for Relief

BEDFORD, N.Y. — The Bedford Central School District Board of Education met Wednesday for its bi-monthly meeting and one of the hot topics was the need to choose what state mandates the district feels are most burdensome, ultimately agreeing on three to dispute to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new Mandate Relief Council.

The three mandates include cutting down transportation costs by limiting the out-of-district transportation to 5 miles instead of 15, eliminating mandated class sizes for students with disabilities, and the testing costs associated with the implementation of the state’s Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR).

On the transportation overhaul, Assistant Superintendent Mark Betz said the district provides transportation to “probably 30 different locations outside of the district.” Betz also noted that the board would be able to hold from using five to six buses, which range to $85,000 each.

Board member Erika Long agreed with the idea, as the costs have weighed down decision-making in the past. “If we even step back further from that, we had a discussion for long range planning, and what was good for kids in terms of start times for schools,” she said. “And at the end of the day, the thing that prevented us from thinking about that any further was the private school transportation has caused us to add a significant number of bus routes. We couldn’t even pursue what we thought would be good for kids because of that.”

The special education mandate ties into the transportation, Superintendent Jere Hochman said. “We have not been given the opportunity to educate the child first and have somebody say it doesn’t work in the public setting and the family immediately wants to place the child in the private school,” he explained. “We’ve gone to court on a few of those and won because we have programs that work, excellent teachers and no reason to be spending the amount of money to put kids on a bus and take them miles and miles away."

The state’s Mandate Relief Council will be receiving the official submissions of resolution from the district, and will be meeting Feb. 27 in the Hudson Valley, the district said.

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