N. Syracuse board adopts $138.8M budget

— After months of working through the numbers and tuning in for presentations, the North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education adopted the final 2012-13 budget, which includes a tax levy increase of 4.23 percent, the maximum allowed under the new tax cap law.

Superintendent Kim Dyce Faucette said that, even in the midst of making hard decisions, those involved in the process are first and foremost “here for our kids.”

“We have succeeded in becoming more cost effective while preserving programs for our students,” Dyce said.

District residents will be presented with a $138,771,201 budget, a $2.3 million, or 1.7 percent, increase over the 2011-12 budget. The budget includes an additional $3.4 million in expenditure reductions, including the elimination of 39 positions, and a recent North Syracuse Education Association agreement to freeze teacher salaries will save the district $1 million.

The budget also includes the use of $750,000 from the fund balance.

“I’m like the Lorax of the fund balance,” said board member Sandra DiBianco, who voiced her concern for taking more out of the fund balance to reduce the tax levy. “I don’t want to leave this district vulnerable.”

Dyce said many things could occur and she doesn’t want the district to be “that strapped tight” where the fund balance is concerned.

“I have a huge concern with continuing to dip into the fund balance. Anything could go wrong and we have to tap into that,” she said.

Board member Robert Crabtree questioned what the “plan of attack” was for ensuring the budget will pass. Dyce said there will be continuing efforts to reach out to those in the community who have not weighed in on the budget.

“It’s a struggle between those who have children and those who don’t,” she said, adding that they are “trying to once again educate the community.”

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