Steady budget at hand

The past few months have proved successful for the North Syracuse Central School District board of education because of constant budgetary attention. The estimated tax increase was 1.59 percent as of April 6, and is now down to a proposed 1.1 percent as of Monday night.

"The main thing now is the budget, we're still working on it," said Superintendent of Schools Jerome F. Melvin.

Melvin said he couldn't stress enough the importance of the Stabilization Fund revenue from the federal government. He reminded the board that Gov. Paterson's Deficit Reduction plan would have resulted in a $4.4 million cut in state aid for the school district. The cut in state aid could have resulted in the loss of about 54 teachers and four administrators.

However, without those reductions, the tax rate could have jumped by more than 11.4 percent, instead of the 1.1 percent recommended tonight, said Melvin.

The vote on the budget is inching closer as the official date stands for Tuesday, May 19. However, the next board meeting is on Monday, May 11 which will be the last time the board meets to cut the budget any further or discuss revisions from here on.

The board also discussed the New State Education Department Accountability Reports which have new standards and regulations to be released by the state board of education sometime this week. The accountability standards are under the compliance of the No Child Left Behind Act.

A presentation on the breakdown of how the testing and accountability standards are laid out was given by Assistant Superintendent of Management Services Wayne Bleau.

The district was in good standing for the 2007-08 school year. The district performed generally well in all sections including economically disadvantaged and all ethnic groups. Although performing generally well, Melvin said that the Annual Measurable Objectives standards become increasingly more difficult for children with disabilities to meet the standard provided by the program.

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