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Editorial: Time to make your voice heard... again

It sounds like a textbook contractor scam.

After weeks of considering the options for your home makeover (comparing paint swatches, fiddling with floor plans and most importantly, counting pennies) the other shoe drops.

Well, we looked more closely and it turns out this here, and that there… well, it’s going to cost more. A lot more.

That’s how some folks in the Bethlehem Central School District are probably feeling this week, after a recent finding by the district’s new architecture firm that a package of repairs and upgrades to BC’s facilities will come in a hefty $10 million more than previously thought.

Normally, this would not be a huge deal. It’s important to have realistic numbers before going out and borrowing $26 million and estimates can’t be up-to-date all the time, so fluctuations (even large ones) are bound to happen. The thing is, this news comes after weeks of kicking the tires on this bond with the public.

The district is certainly to be commended for providing opportunity for public interaction on this subject. It carved out several meetings just for that purpose. But it is no doubt disheartening to those parents, concerned residents and district staff members who took time out of their evenings to attend those meetings to realize the finances on this thing just morphed in a serious way.

We don’t think the intent is actually to scam taxpayers, and we’ve no doubt more opportunities for input will be made available. But we’d also like to point out to members of the school board that any public dialogue made before Nov. 28 was given without a full understanding of the situation.

These might seem like mere details, but this bond is more complicated than philosophy on the course of public education. The school board is now tasked with deciding what projects to put into the bond, which is subject to a public up-or-down vote.

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