Bedford Schools Continue to Make Progress on Budget Proposal

The district reported on budget development at its Mar. 16 meeting, during which Athletics Director Beth Starpoli honored several athletes at the school.

Bedford school district officials gave a detailed synopsis of the job cuts and other reductions that were needed to come up with their $118.9 million budget proposal during Wednesday’s school board meeting.

The proposed spending plan for 2011-2012 school year represents a 2.11 percent increase from this year’s budget and is in line with what school board members said they felt comfortable with earlier in the year.

“This is a work in progress, the development of the budget,” Jere Hochman, the superintendent of schools, said. “The budget process is an ongoing, cyclical process going all the way back to September.”

Earlier this month, schools officials released an $119.9 million proposal that would have maintained most of the district’s current programming and staffing levels. That budget would have represented a 2.93 percent increase from this year’s budget.

Hochman said district officials had to find an additional $1 million in cuts to meet the school board’s 2 percent budget-to-budget increase threshold.

Those cuts include an overall reduction of seven teaching and support staff positions for $283,000 in savings, the delaying of $216,092 worth of bus purchases, the consolidation of two school bus runs for $130,000 in savings and the elimination of the summer academy for a savings of about $85,000.

In total, there will be a reduction of 7.2 full-time-equivalent certified staffing positions, but there will also be 4.8 certified staffing additions.

Although there are 10 support staff positions being cut, the district also plans to add five more positions.

A full list of staffing reductions, additions and other cuts can be viewed in the PDF posted with this story.

Mark Betz, the district’s assistant superintendent of business, said some of the people affected by the staffing changes will have an opportunity to move into any new positions being created that fit into their certification area. Betz said seven people will be laid off if the current budget proposal is approved by the public.

“There are those who won’t be affected because of decisions that will happen on a go-forward basis from here—people deciding to retire, freeing up a spot...someone else going out on leave to create leave replacement position, somebody could be probationary right now,” Betz said.

Hochman said administrators also investigated ways to fit the district’s ACES and programs under one roof to see if they can be run more efficiently. ACES, which stands for Academic Community for Educational Success, is an alternative high school that focuses on experiential learning. Hillside is an alternative high school programs that caters to students of various emotional and learning needs.

Hochman said they have looked at placing the ACES program in the same location where the Hillside program is, at 12 Green Street in Mount Kisco. The two programs would still maintain their own identities, but share services and staffing whenever possible.

Hochman said the district anticipated a savings of about $250,000 if the move is made, but more discussions are being scheduled before a final decision is made.

“We’re looking at it and at the end of the day, we’ll see what our recommendation is for you on that move,” Hochman said.

Hochman said there are still a few areas in the budget that are a work in progress and that his staff will find answers for, before the school board adopts a budget on April 6.

Athletes honored

Beth Staropoli, athletic director of the Bedford school district, honored the following winter and fall athletes:

Field Hockey― Lindsay Toppe
Soccer―Michelle Kowalski
Swim and Dive (Girls)―Elizabeth Balter, Claudia DiCapua, Emily Jones, Melissa Trail
Swim and Dive (Boys)―Connor Farrell, Matt Karle, Will Rappaport, Cameron Stephens, Kurt Wasserman
Winter Track―Janice Johnson
Ski― Alex Jacobson
Wrestling―Steven Rodrigues, Sam Speno, Danny Ventura


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