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North Syracuse: Preliminary budget hearing lays out possible cuts

A brief presentation by Assistant Superintendent of Management Services Wayne Bleau on the possible budget reductions for the North Syracuse Central School District was held on Monday night as a special preliminary hearing for financial issues in the area.

The deficit was projected to be $9.2 million back in November, and then an estimated decrease caused the budget to lower to $7.1 million during a budget draft on Feb. 23. At Monday night's preliminary hearing, Bleau announced that the projected budget deficit could in fact be zero for the 2009-10 school year.

I want to stress this is still a work in progress, said Superintendent of Schools Jerome F. Melvin. Hopefully we will have a definitive answer tomorrow.

Melvin mentioned that there is a back-up plan in case the board does not fully agree on the reductions and any other budgetary issues. With the preliminary budget draft in hand, the tax increase for all three towns, Cicero, Clay and Salina, would be 1.5 percent.

As of now, the shortfall appears to be $6,665,000; however, with a deficit reduction of stabilized funds and more than $2 million in budget reductions, Bleau presented a balanced budget. In addition to the other deductions, the NSCSD board of education is expecting $240,390 in both special education grants and IDEA grants from the federal government. However, with those grants Bleau said there is no guarantee that there are no strings attached to those funds.

Assuming the $4.4 million in stabilization funds is acquired for the 2009-10 budget, Bleau presented the draft with a breakdown of each area of the schools that could be affected by reductions.

Although there have been few retirement proclamations and resignations within the district, there will be some budget saves in vacant positions that may not be filled in the following school year. For example, a vacant maintenance supervisor's position and a junior high school dean and a director of pupil personal services (both retiring) will save the district $261,058. This total includes salary, retirement, health care and any other benefits inclusive to the position.

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