Budget Proposal Prioritizes Students’ Social-Emotional Needs in Challenging Times
We are in unprecedented times. Our school buildings have now been closed for more than two months and will remain shuttered for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. Despite the physical closures though, work continues on all levels. The North Syracuse Central School District continues to educate students through teacher-led remote learning. Meals and technology services are being provided and planning for upcoming years continues.
On Monday, May 11, our Board of Education, for the first-time ever, approved a budget proposal via a “Zoom” meeting. Unprecedented times. When we began planning the 2020-2021 school budget many months ago, we were optimistic about the additions that might be possible with the governor’s proposed increases to education funding. Fast forward to the present and we are once again in the unfortunate position of receiving significantly less State Aid than the promised amount. As a result, we have been forced to make significant spending cuts.
Our expenditures for the 2020-2021 school year are projected to be $172.6 million. Those funds are carefully allocated to provide the best education and supports to all North Syracuse Central School District students. We are the largest suburban district in Central New York, serving more than 8,300 students with a strong track record of fiscal responsibility, as evidenced by our per pupil spending.
One important piece of this budget proposal that I’d like to bring to your attention is that the social-emotional needs of all students remain a priority. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we address the social-emotional needs of our students. This budget proposal includes additions in that area so that all of our school buildings will be staffed with a school social worker, school counselor or both.
Due to declining enrollment over the past several years, some position eliminations are included in this proposed budget. Despite the proposed reductions, class sizes for 2020-21 remain below guidelines and contractual requirements and student teacher ratios are conducive to meeting the needs of both students and staff.
In the past several years, as the District’s financial situation had improved, we had been fortunate enough to expand offerings for junior high and high school students as part of Vision 2020. This budget proposal maintains and expands those important opportunities. In these times of rapid change and technological advancement, it is essential to expose our young people to a variety of subjects so that they can choose educational and career paths suited to their interests and passions.
Public Hearing - May 26, 2020 at 6 p.m.
While these complicated times have changed the way we do things, we will be holding a public hearing on May 26 at 6 p.m. The meeting will take place online via Zoom and will be livestreamed at https://ensemble.cnyric.org/Watch/La4j5R6S. Please take time to watch the presentation and learn more about this year’s budget vote and board member election.
This year’s budget vote and member election will take place exclusively by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Qualified voters will receive an absentee ballot by mail with return postage paid by the District. Voters should complete their ballot and mail it back to the District in the postage paid envelope. In order for ballots to be counted, the District must receive them by 5:00 p.m. on June 9, 2020.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about this year’s complex budget proposal. Please click here to visit our budget website and to read about our Board of Education candidates.
Daniel D. Bowles, Superintendent of Schools
Click here to view the May District Dispatch newsletter online.