Budget proposal defeated - North Syracuse Connect News 5/21/13 - North Syracuse Central School District voters have rejected the district’s proposed 2013-2014 school year budget. More than 3,600 votes were cast, with the final tally being 1,989 yes votes and 1,680 no votes on the $144,716,279 proposal. Because the district had proposed a tax levy increase of 5.33 percent, which was above their calculated tax levy limit, it was necessary to obtain 60% voter approval in order for the proposal to pass, rather than the 54% approval received. A bus proposition for $1,299,145 was approved with 2,131 yes votes and 1,524 no votes.
Voters elected the following candidates to the North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education for (three-year) terms beginning July 1, 2013:
Catherine Cifaratta-Brayton (2,028 votes)
Mary Scanlon (2,470 votes)
Patrick Svoboda (2,515 votes)
The district and Board of Education will now deliberate and decide whether to resubmit a budget (the same or a revised version) for a revote on June 18, or to adopt a contingent budget.
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kim Dyce Faucette said, “Without a doubt, this has been a challenging budget year for districts across the state. North Syracuse felt the impact and was forced to make some very difficult decisions in its budget deliberations. We know that our voters had to do the same thing today…this was not an easy decision for anyone. Of course we are disappointed that the proposed budget was rejected. But we will take this feedback, reconvene and move forward toward a successful budget that provides the best education possible for our students.”
Board of Education President Pat Carbone also commented saying, “We knew that attaining 60 percent approval would not be easy. While we are disappointed at the outcome, we will use what we have learned and take the next steps to provide a budget that the community can support and that ensures our students receive a great education.”
If the Board of Education opts for a revote on June 18 and that budget is defeated, the Board must adopt a budget with a tax levy no greater than what was levied the previous year, a $0 increase. This would mean the district would make an additional $4,047,682 in cuts including the elimination of athletic programs and extra-curricular activities; additional administrative cuts, including the assistant director of special education; a school resource officer proposed in the budget would not be added; a social worker proposed in the budget would not be added; and the elimination of additional teacher positions, which would result in larger class sizes at all grade levels.
Annual School District Budget Vote: May 21, 2013
6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Administrative Office Building, 5355 West Taft Road, North Syracuse (For residents living SOUTH of 481)
Cicero Elementary School, Route 31, Cicero (For residents living NORTH of 481)
2013-14 budget at-a-glance
Proposed budget: $144,716,279
Budget increase: $5,945,078
School tax levy: $79,924,643
Estimated tax levy increase: $4,047,682 or 5.33 percent
Click here to view/download the final budget presentation
Click here to view/download the budget newsletter
Click here to view/download information packet from the May 14 Public Hearing
Click here to view/download a list of frequently asked questions regarding the budget proposal
Check out the links under the 2013-14 budget section to the left to learn more about issues impacting the 2013-14 North Syracuse Central School District budget. There are fact sheets and videos on a variety of topics, such as New York state's Property Tax Levy Limit Law and its Gap Elimination Adjustment mechanism.
Community input shaped 2013-14 budget proposal - North Syracuse Connect news 5/2/13North Syracuse Central School District officials used the district’s strategic plan and stakeholder conversations to develop recommendations for strengthening its programs and services while also making reductions to the district’s 2013-14 proposed budget.
The proposed $144,716,279 budget for the 2013-14 school year increases spending by 4.3 percent compared to the current year. It also includes the elimination of several staff positions to increase efficiency and savings in employee health care costs (see below for a list of cost reductions).
The budget proposal includes a 5.33 percent property tax levy increase, or $4,047,682, which is above the district’s calculated tax levy limit. That means at least 60 percent of the people who vote on May 21 must approve the budget for it to pass, according to the state’s property tax levy cap law.
The law determines what percentage of voters must approve a budget. “We realize that attaining a 60 percent budget authorization could be challenging. However, without this increase, we would have been forced to make damaging cuts to programs, services and staff. We felt that would not be in the best interest of our students, staff or the community they live in,” said Pat Carbone, North Syracuse Central School District Board of Education president.
On April 22, the Board adopted the 2013-14 budget proposal. A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for May 14, and district residents will vote on it May 21.
The district’s calculated tax levy limit for the 2013-14 school year is 3.45 percent, or $78,498,349, meaning it could increase the amount of revenue it collects from taxpayers up to and including that amount and require a simple majority (more than 50 percent) vote for budget approval. Any amount above that figure triggers the law’s requirement for a supermajority authorization.
However, proposing a budget with a 3.45 percent tax levy increase would have left the district with a $1.5 million gap between revenues and expenses, forcing it to cut programs such as elementary band and orchestra, increase class sizes and not add staff in areas that would address critical needs, such as providing reading and math support for the district’s at-risk elementary students.
As of January, 17 percent of the district’s third- and fourth-grade students were considered at serious risk for not passing the New York State English Language Arts (ELA) assessment and 20 percent were considered at serious risk for not passing the New York State math test.
Additionally, only 37 percent of third- and fourth-grade students have a 50 percent chance of passing the New York State ELA and math tests. To support these students, the budget proposal includes the addition of three elementary academic intervention service (AIS) teachers.
“We have elementary students who are in serious need of help with the basics of a sound education: reading and math,” Superintendent Kim Dyce Faucette said. “We could not in good conscience propose a lower tax levy increase knowing that it would mean we weren’t doing our best to help our most at-risk students.”
The budget proposal also includes hiring one additional school resource officer at an estimated cost of $80,000 and one full-time social worker to share time between the middle schools and the high school, also at an estimated cost of $80,000.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings that occurred in Connecticut led North Syracuse officials to review the district’s safety and security measures. The administration recommended, and the Board agreed, that an additional school resource officer would be able to provide coverage for the high school and middle schools and an additional social worker would position the district to better assist its students in times of crisis.
“The safety of our students and staff is critical,” Dr. Dyce Faucette said. “We looked at ways we could improve and feel that hiring another school resource officer and social worker would add an additional level of support to our students and staff.”
Cost-savings and reductions
The following reductions and cost-saving measures would be implemented if the 2013-14 budget proposal is approved by voters on May 21:
• Elimination of one Gillette Road Middle School administrator position;
• Elimination of one part-time director of music and art position;
• Elimination of seven elementary teaching positions;
• Elimination of five teaching assistant positions;
• Curtailment of bus camera project; and
• Pricing concessions from current health care providers.
If the district proposed the 3.45 percent tax levy increase that would require a simple majority for budget authorization, it would have had to reduce the budget proposal by another $1.4 million. That would have required the loss of more programs, services and staff members.
In the past five years, the district has eliminated more than 200 employee positions.
“Our mission is to prepare every child to succeed in college, career and as global citizens. To do so, we need to have the appropriate programs, services and staff members in place,” Superintendent Kim Dyce Faucette said.
What happens if the budget doesn’t get 60 percent approval?
If voters reject the 2013-14 budget proposal, the Board of Education can resubmit the same budget – or a revised budget – for a revote on June 18, or it could decide to adopt a contingent budget.
If residents vote down the budget a second time, the Board must adopt a contingent budget. Under the tax levy limit law, there can be no increase – $0 – in the tax levy in a contingent budget.
In other words, North Syracuse would have to levy the same amount of taxes as in the current year without any adjustments for state pension rate increases, contractual obligations or other costs – mandated or not.
This would mean the district would make an additional $4,047,682 in cuts. The following cuts would be in addition to those required by law under a contingent budget:
• Elimination of some or all athletic programs;
• Elimination of some or all extra-curricular activities;
• Additional administrative cuts, including the assistant director of special education;
• A school resource officer proposed in the budget would not be added;
• A social worker proposed in the budget would not be added; and
• Elimination of additional teacher positions, which would result in larger class sizes at all grade levels.
Upcoming Dates to Remember:
May 14: Budget Public Hearing, Board of Education meeting
May 21: School Budget Vote
2013-2014 Budget Information
On Tuesday, May 21, 2013 voters of the North Syracuse Central School District will be asked to vote in the 2013-2014 School Budget Vote and Board Member Election.
The district provided residents with the first presentation for the 2013-14 budget at the Monday, January 7, 2013 Board of Education meeting. This, and all budget presentations, can be viewed using the "Board of Education Presentations 2013-2014" link on the left.
The public vote on the 2013-2014 North Syracuse Central School District Budget and the Annual Election will be held on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
- For residents living NORTH of Route 481, polling will take place at Cicero Elementary School (5979 Route 31) in Cicero
- For residents living SOUTH of Route 481, polling will take place at the Jerome F. Melvin Administrative Office Building (5355 West Taft Road) in North Syracuse
If you are not already registered to vote in the North Syracuse Central School District board member election and budget vote being held on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, pre-registration is required by May 16.
STAR Exemption deadline was March 1 - New York homeowners had until March 1 to apply for STAR property tax exemptions.
The Basic STAR exemption is available to all homeowners, who need apply ONLY ONCE unless they move or change ownership of their primary residence. The Enhanced STAR exemption is available to homeowners who will be 65 years of age by December 31, 2013, and who have an adjusted gross income of $79,050 or less on their 2011 tax return.
Enhanced STAR participants MUST REAPPLY to their town assessor every year to prove that they still meet income requirements.
For more information about STAR and/or application forms, contact your town assessor.
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