NSCSD hard hit by governor's budget

If left untouched, the North Syracuse Central School District's tentative budget for the upcoming year could mean a 23-percent tax increase for district residents.

The tentative budget, and how it could potentially be impacted by Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget, were discussed during the Feb. 7 North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education meeting.

Assistant Superintendent for Management Wayne Bleau presented the board with highlights from Governor Cuomo's Executive Budget Proposal on Feb. 1, and translated what each would mean for the North Syracuse Central School District:

+ Governor Cuomo has proposed a $2.8 billion reduction in school aid, which represents a 10.2 percent reduction for the district, a total of approximately $9 million. Because the district held off using the $3,179,138 Federal Jobs Restoration Funding granted last year until this budget, the districts actual reduction is $5,918,719. Bleau described the reduction as a "very hard hit."

+ Aid for special education students is frozen, which could mean the district paying out of pocket an additional $50,000 to $100,000 for each new special education student that moves into the district.

+ Building aid for all projects effective July 1 will decrease. The district will receive 77 percent in aid, instead of the current 87.8 percent reimbursement it is currently receiving.

+ Many non-instructional services provided by BOCES, such as printing, photocopying, energy management and equipment repair, will no longer be eligible for reimbursement through BOCES aid, which could be a hard hit for the district.

+ The pending 2-percent tax cap will be instituted during the 2012-2013 fiscal year instead of the upcoming budget year.

Bleau explained that with a $5.9 million decrease in state aid, and the budget up $6.8 million (5.1 percent) due mostly to employee benefits and employee salaries, the budget proposed to the community would call for a 23 percent tax rate increase.

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