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North Syracuse schools eye 4.1 percent tax increase

North Syracuse Central School District continues budget work

The North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education met at 7 p.m. Monday Feb. 22 at Allen Road Elementary for its regular meeting.

As Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jerome Melvin mentioned during the last board meeting, the school's 2010-11 budget is a top priority on the agenda.

On Monday night, the initial budget draft was presented by Wayne Bleau, NSCSD Assistant Superintendent for Management.

The preliminary 2010-11 budget is $144,124,575, which represents an increase of $5,715,486, or 4.1 percent over the current budget. Because of the significant reduction in state aid, the preliminary tax increase would be 17.8 percent, which Melvin has already said is an "unacceptable increase."

Overall, Bleau said the district's shortfall stands at $11.4 million.

"The significant decrease in state aid is due to the Gap Elimination Adjustment reduction of $5,724,145 for the North Syracuse Central School District," Bleau said. "This represents a 9 percent reduction in state aid."

To help offset the budget deficit, the state has used "approximately $1.4 million of the school district's 2010-11 Fiscal Stabilization Fund." With this second decrease in funding, the total of state aid loss is at $7.1 million, according to Bleau's numbers.

While the district is currently doing budget planning on a week-by-week basis, Bleau informed the board and all in attendance of the Monday night meeting that the bus purchases will be provided at the March 8 meeting.

He also wanted everyone to keep in mind the following: the fund balance to apply against the tax levy remains at $600,000, no improvements have been planned to be submitted as of now, and no staffing reductions are included in the preliminary budget.

Any staffing reductions and district improvements will also be presented at the March 8 meeting, Superintendent Melvin said.

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