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BELLMORE: Vote 'yes' on school budgets

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Endorsing the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District budget is, for us, a no-brainer.

The district’s 2014-15 budget is set to rise by 1.97 percent, from $136.5 million this year to a little more than $139 million next year. And, despite a lower-than-hoped-for state aid increase of $200,000, the district does not plan to cut services for students. In fact, it is restoring some services such as BOCES dance, which had been cut during the leanest years of the 2008-09 recession and its aftermath.

As is the case with most school districts, Bellmore-Merrick divides its expenses into three primary categories: administration, instruction and capital. Instruction primarily goes toward teachers’ salaries, while capital pays for ongoing maintenance. The 2014-15 budget breaks down as follows:

n Administration: $17.6 million
n Instruction: $108.5 million
n Capital: $12.9 million.

Bellmore-Merrick annually produces a crop of college-ready graduates, many of whom attend the country’s finest institutions of higher learning. We hear so much talk these days of students leaving high school unprepared for the academic and workaday challenges they face in the “real world.” With few exceptions, that’s not the case among Bellmore-Merrick students, who are exposed to a rigorous curriculum that exceeds state standards.

Moreover, Bellmore-Merrick offers a well-rounded education, including:
n Exceptional art and music programs that generate any number of All-County and All-State honorees.=

n The Authentic Science Research Program, which prepares students to compete against the very best science students from across the country in contests such as the Intel Science Talent Search.

n Project Lead the Way, a pre-engineering program that was recently expanded to include students in grades eight to 12.

n The Gilder Lehrman Program, which helps bring history to life for students who show a particular interest in social studies.

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