North Syracuse BOE approves budget, 5.2 percent tax increase

The North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education adopted a $136,601,471 budget for the 2011-2012 school year during a special meeting April 18 in the North Syracuse Jr. High Auditorium.

The budget, which was adopted in a unanimous vote by the board, means a 5.2 percent tax increase for district taxpayers-down from the originally proposed 5.6 percent. This means a $107 increase in school taxes on a $100,000 home in the towns of Cicero, Salina and Clay. The budget also includes the elimination of 67 staffing positions-37.5 instructional, 9.05 special education and 20.6 support staff-which saves the district $4,483,706. Broken down further, this means 16.5 teachers from the K-6 elementary level, 12.9 from the 7-12 secondary level and 8.1 special area-art, music, physical education, etc.-teachers.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 3. District residents vote on the budget May 17.

Athletics and co-curricular activities also took hits during budget process. The athletic department lost $97,530 in school funding, which means the elimination of certain supplies and equipment, less pool and ice rental times and reductions in officials and trips for modified teams. Co-curricular funding was reduced by $37,655 and includes cuts to intramurals, supplies and equipment, and after school clubs in the high school, junior high, Gillette and Roxboro Road middle schools.

Other concessions imposed upon the district by the budget include increased class sizes, changing of music from twice each week to once a week for grades 5 and 6, and the cleaning of certain areas on alternate days by the custodial department.

"I feel good about the budget," said Pat Carbone, board president. "I would have supported the 5.6 percent tax increase, but I'm glad we were able to lower it to 5.2 percent because I understand people are hurting during this time."

Dr. Jerome Melvin, superintendent, appeared content with the budget.

"Over the past three years, we have had to cut over two hundred positions and we've lost over $20 million in state aid...I think the board reached a point where they decided they didn't want to damage the educational system any further by cutting more programs. They reached a point where they said 'this is good for the children,'" he said.

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