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North Syracuse BOE approves budget; taxpayers face 5.33 percent increase

—  Five teaching assistants at various locations

The budget would also curtail the district’s bus camera project and call for pricing concessions from its current health care providers.

The 2013-14 budget doesn’t just call for cuts. It also seeks the addition of full-day kindergarten. The move will not impact the 2013-14 or 2014-15 budgets, as those costs are covered by the state, according to Assistant Superintendent Dan Bowles.

“Conversion aid will cover the cost of the first two years, about $3.2 million,” Bowles told the Star-Review. “After that we’ll need a supermajority vote as far as 2015-16 to see if this is something the public still wants to do.”

The shift to full-day kindergarten will add 13 regular teachers and two special area teachers.

The budget also calls for the addition of three Academic Intervention Services (AIS) teachers at a cost of $240,000, citing data that suggests North Syracuse’s students are at risk for failing state exams.

“Currently, 17 percent of third and fourth grade students are at serious risk of not passing the NYS ELA test. Approximately 37 percent in grades three and four have a 50 percent likelihood of passing the NYS ELA test,” the April 22 presentation said. Meanwhile, “20 percent of third and fourth grade students are at serious risk of not passing the NYS Math test. Approximately 37 percent in grades three and four have a 50 percent likelihood of passing the NYS Math test.*

In the wake of the Newtown school shootings, North Syracuse also wants to add a School Resource Officer for the middle, junior and high schools, as well as a social worker to split his or her time between the buildings. SROs are trained by the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department. The addition of four SROs would cost about $80,000. The social worker would cost another $80,000.

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