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Bedford Enrollment Steady; Salary Budget Tight

BEDFORD, N.Y. — As the Bedford Central School District revs up for the start of school, its current enrollment shows the total number of students to be close to last year’s count, school officials said Monday.

However, the budget for teacher salaries is tight going into this fiscal year, according to Assistant Superintendent for Business Mark Betz, which may present a problem if more students enroll as the year goes on.

Betz said his 2011-2012 financial analysis shows that last year was the first in a long time when the district spent almost all the money it had budgeted for salaries.

However, he said, presenting his findings at an Aug. 8 school board meeting, enrollment appears to have leveled off, at least until the real estate market changes, so it is not likely that more staff positions would need to be created.

According to a statement from School District Clerk Carole LaColla on Monday, “Enrollment for this year as compared to last year is what we expected based on our projections and our long-range planning information.”

The district monitors class sizes during the summer, and LaColla stays in touch with each of the schools to make sure they are keeping tabs on their enrollment.

Schools can always expect to see new students register throughout the summer and into September, LaColla said.

At August's meeting, Superintendent Jere Hochman noted that principals put together several versions of class lists for this reason when planning in June and July for the upcoming year.

This year, two classes have been broken. “We have added another section at Pound Ridge for fifth [grade] and for Bedford Hills for second [grade],” LaColla said in her statement. Those changes were expected, she said.

Hochman said the district has a worthy pool of applicants to choose from should a teacher leave or an overflowing class need to be split during the year.

Betz said that while the budget provides for a few contingent positions, it may be possible, if more classes need to be split during the year, the business office will have to come back to the Board of Education and take from the fund balance to create additional positions.

However, Hochman said, teachers find that sometimes breaking a class is less productive than keeping the situation as it is or merely adding an aide. This decision really depends on what will be the most consistent for the students, Hochman said.

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