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Bedford Ed Board Seeks Community Involvement

BEDFORD, N.Y. –  The Bedford Central Board of Education encouraged parents and community members to take a more active role in the in the direction of the district’s schools, in a letter to members of the school district.

The letter also addresses some of the fiscal challenges the district will face in the coming year.

The board’s complete letter, which went out last week, follows:

“With the knowledge that participation creates understanding, Bedford Central, under the leadership of Superintendent Dr. Jere Hochman, has worked hard to build a dialogue with the public and to conduct the business of the district with openness and candor. We have responded to economic demands to scale back, operating under a self-imposed tax levy increase of no more than two percent for the past three years – and doing more with less.

All the while, we have remained fully committed to our students and to our district’s culture of exceptional learning. The district continues its tradition of providing an array of unique instructional programs and achieving superior levels of college entrance, always with a keen focus on excellence in teaching, curriculum, and student achievement.

Yet the reality is, because Albany’s imposed tax levy cap and lack of mandate relief are set to collide with record-high pension and health care increases, Bedford Central will face a substantial revenue gap for the 2012-13 school year.

We are relying on an involved community to help us define our district’s priorities, and we are fortunate to have a practice of two-way communication with the public already in place. This valuable give and take has included the participation of residents on district advisory committees critical to our decision-making, together with involvement from all sectors of the public in our ‘Future Focus’ engagement sessions, Internet and phone surveys, and other community-based support of our schools.

With the public providing a compass, helping to point the way as we set the direction of our school system, the district has improved its ability to forecast spending, including long-range initiatives and capital planning. So with inevitable cost-cutting on the horizon ahead, we have developed a slate of recommended cutbacks or ‘tough choices’ for 2012-2013.

Resuming this fall, we’ll be surveying the public through our ‘Future Focus’ effort, asking residents to share thoughts, evaluate options, and shape our planning for Bedford Central’s future. With high educational expectations for every student always in mind, we will be asking what you think – about our breadth of educational and extra-curricular programs, about the services we provide for students, about our operations, facilities, student achievement goals, and more.

Despite outside financial pressures on our school district, we are encouraged by the healthy dialogue and community involvement within. Count on us to seek your input and listen when it is offered, collaborating with you to help direct the priorities and maintain the high quality of your public schools.

Welcome back to the new school year.

We offer a fond farewell to resigning Board of Education member Mark Chernis. We wish Mark the very best of luck in his lead role at Pearson Education and wholeheartedly thank him for seven years of valued volunteer service to our district. The vacancy will be filled by Board of Education appointment following an open application process. Candidates are invited to apply by Oct. 7 and will participate in a publicly televised interview scheduled for 7 p.m. on Oct. 19. For additional details, please contact District Clerk Carole LaColla at clacolla0598@bcsdny.org or 914-241-6011.”

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