Although the proposed 2011-2012 North Syracuse Central School District budget is up by less than eight tenths of one percent, or $1,134,411 more than 2010-2011, the budget would result in a 5.2 percent tax rate increase if approved by school district residents on May 17.
For the third consecutive year, the North Syracuse Central School District experienced the very worst of a weak state and national economy as indicated by a major reduction in state aid. Although $1.7 million of the original $8.9 state aid cut was restored, the School District still lost $7.2 million in state aid for 2011- 2012, bringing the total three year loss in Foundation Aid to $19.7 million.
Aware of the financial constraints facing community residents, the preliminary budget was reduced by approximately $5,289,711 through program and staff reductions and economics. Thus, it was necessary to eliminate 67.15 positions throughout the school district. This brings the reduction to approximately 200 positions, including administrative, instructional, and support personnel, that have been eliminated during the past three years. Regretfully, forty-five staff members will be laid off, effective July 1.
Contributing to the less than one percent budget increase are the following:
+ Employee benefits: $1,080,404 increase due to a 6.5 percent increase in health insurance rates, 28 percent increase in Teacher Retirement System rates, 39 percent increase in Employee Retirement System rates, and the need to fund benefits for those positions formerly paid for by the Federal Stimulus grants (Stabilization Funds) which expires June 30.
+ BOCES services: $573,932 increase due to participation in Special Education Work-Study program and higher number of seriously disabled students in BOCES programs.
Debt service (principal and interest): $174,422 increase to Smith Road Elementary School renovation project-totally offset by New York State building aid and debt service reserve funds.
+ Fuel for vehicles: $150,735 increase due to higher costs for bus fuel.