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North Syracuse schools: Department heads discuss budgets

— After last week’s revelation that, without significant cuts, North Syracuse school district residents will face a 12.7 tax levy increase, department heads approached the Board of Education with their own proposals to cut costs.

At the March 5 North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education meeting, representatives from the athletic and physical education department, business office, office of professional development, special education department, mathematics and business department and technology department explained their costs, presented their 2012-13 budgets and offered suggestions for potential savings.

The preliminary 2012-13 budget, as presented on Feb. 27 by Superintendent Dr. Kim Dyce Faucette and Assistant Superintendent for Management Don Keegan stands at $143,186,335, representing a 4.9 percent increase from 2011-12, or $6,701,864. According to Dyce Faucette, in the past three years, revenues have declined, costs have increased, expenditures have been cut $15.2 million, 200 positions eliminated and the burden of funding schools has shifted from the state and federal government to the taxpayer.

Athletics and physical education

The vast majority of the athletic department’s budget — 70 percent, or $686,217 — goes toward coaching salaries. That figure has gone up 4.2 percent since the 2011-12 budget, or $27,975. According to the presentation, coaching salaries “should remain the same. If they rise, it is because of coaches dropping out and new ones hired at a higher rate.”

Additional variances in the athletic budget fell under equipment and general supplies, which went up by a total of $41,000. The presentation noted that the amount was still less than 50 percent of what was there two years ago, “just to help teams with the essentials.”

Meanwhile, the physical education budget held steady at the 2011-12 levels.

Suggestions to cut costs included cutting varsity assistant coaches in football, soccer (both boys’ and girls’), field hockey and lacrosse (again, for both sexes) at a savings of $30,531.50, as well as cutting the following modified teams: one softball, one boys’ basketball, one girls’ basketball, one football and one girls’ volleyball. Those cuts would generate a total savings of $26,603.20 in coaching salaries, officials and transportation.

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