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Revised Bedford Central School Budget Easily Passes

Bedford Central's school board
Bedford Central's school board Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Voters in the Bedford Central School District overwhelmingly approved a revised 2016-17 budget on Tuesday.

Unofficial results from the district show that, in the re-vote, the altered budget was approved by 2,490 votes in favor to just 950 votes against.

The results are subject to approval by the school board.

The successful passage comes a month after the first budget iteration was rejected by voters because it did not receive a 60-percent supermajority. The high threshold was required because the first budget called for overriding the state-mandated tax levy cap, which limits how much total property tax revenue can be increased on an annual basis.

The revised budget only required a simple majority because it came under the cap, with a tax-levy hike of 1.31 percent. The failed budget included a levy increase of 3.82 percent.

Due to the failure of the first vote, Bedford Central school board officials cut an additional $2.85 million in spending. The revised budget includes roughly 52 job cuts, which is a combination of reductions included in both the earlier version and in the revised iterations.

Personnel cuts include the elimination of four elementary school librarians, with one remaining to service the district's five elementary schools on a rotating basis. Cuts will also be made to middle school and high school teachers, custodial staff and clerical positions. The district's sole TV-production staff member will stay on initially but his job will be phased out through the course of the school year.

Total spending for the revised budget comes in at $126,804,885, which an a decrease of 0.31 percent from the current school year.

District officials sought a tax-cap override as a way to fill a roughly $8.8 million budgetary gap, which was the result of cost overruns in health insurance and special education.

The second budget vote was held on Tuesday, which was the same date as Fox Lane High School's graduation. The re-vote date was mandated by the state, Interim Superintendent John Chambers previously noted.

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