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Bedford School District Looks To Community For Budget Input

Bedford Central School District officials are reaching out for additional help from community to justify any last-minute budget adds.
Bedford Central School District officials are reaching out for additional help from community to justify any last-minute budget adds. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella

BEDFORD, N.Y. – With a week to go until the Bedford Central School District adopts a 2013-14 budget slated to cut more than 21 positions, officials are reaching out for help from the community to justify any last-minute additions.

Superintendent Jere Hochman said the district has been exploring community outreach and fundraising in an attempt to bring back some of the positions cut that have received attention from the public in recent weeks, including student assistance counselor Lauren Beeson and the district’s TV programming.

“Every year we have to be tighter and tighter about what we do and how we go about doing it, which causes us to ask the question, ‘Are we doing what’s our job?’ and having others do what’s their job,” he said. “In the old days maybe we could do a whole lot more, but we know that times are changing.”

The district has already received commitments from the community to help in some areas, and the initial response has been positive, Hochman said.

However, he said the big challenge is knowing when there’s enough commitment from outside helpers to keep a certain program or position in the budget. He said it’s simply one of those things that “we’ll know when we know.”

When speaking about Beeson’s position, Hochman said that if the district could get enough support, it might be able to retain her position for one more year. Momentum behind such support was “climbing,” he said, although the position is still cut from the latest proposed budget.

Hochman was more optimistic about retaining the district's TV programming and said he was “feeling good” about the interest received from BOCES, the town of Bedford and Northern Westchester Hospital. All three parties are interested in possible airtime and advertising through the district's station.

As for clubs that could be eliminated, Hochman mentioned the idea of having clubs take the “junior business approach” and find ways to fundraise on their own. Although he would like to retain as many as possible, he admitted there are “cuts still in there.”

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