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North Syracuse BOE readies for budget work

The North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education met for its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday Jan. 25 at Cicero Elementary School. NSCSD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jerome Melvin talked about the preliminary budget that he reveals around this time each year.

Melvin lays out the reductions and tax rate with no revision so that taxpayers can see where the school year's budget begins. He described the current budget situation as "critical" because the state funding has been decreased by $7,124,145 or 11 percent.

"This reduction represents a 9.8 percent tax increase," Melvin said. With other reductions in revenues, there is a 0.2 percent tax increase. As of now, Melvin said the budget increase is $6 million, a 4.3 percent increase, which represents a 8.2 percent tax rate increase.

Altogether, the loss of revenue and the increase in expenditures represents an 18.2 percent tax increase, according to Melvin.

{Q}"This [budget] is simply unacceptable," Melvin said.{Q}

There will be extensive work done on the budget to bring the tax rate and budget to a more realistic level, Melvin said.

Health Oversight Committee

The NSCSD revealed a savings of $2,601,748 over a three-year period from investing in a self-funded health insurance program for district employees. The Health Oversight Committee gave a report with recommendations regarding plan administration to the board of education and the North Syracuse Education Association.

At the present time, the plan ahs a fund balance of $1,284,798. Consortium members received both prescription rebates and lower rates as a result of the district starting the self-funded health insurance program.

The committee presented a breakdown of the health plan expenditures that shows a 35.1 percent total of funds that are delegated to prescription drug costs and major medical costs at 29.6 percent.

"I am convinced that the plan provisions under review also have the potential for future cost savings," said Wayne Bleu, NSCSD Assistant Superintendent for Management.

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