June 18 matters: Round 2 for some districts

It is now two weeks until the school budget revote date. Across the state, only 32 districts did not pass their budgets on the first try and 21 of those really passed, but did not reach the 60 percent supermajority needed to override their tax cap. Districts can either adopt a 0 percent increase to their tax levy or submit another budget to voters on June 18. Districts had until last night to decide what to do.

In central New York, the North Syracuse school board decided to cut $1.1 million so they could stay within their cap. This budget will only need 50 percent of voters to say “yes.”

But it’s still painful. The amended budget eliminates sports teams and cuts funding for extracurricular activities. Also gone are social workers, academic intervention teachers, teaching assistants and more.

“We already offer so little programming beyond the basics at the high school level; our high school students already protested because it impacts their chances for college,” said John Kuryla, president of the North Syracuse Education Association. Click here for link to coverage of that April 26 event at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

If the budget fails for a second time, that budget would have a tax levy no greater than that levied for the current school year. That would mean the district would need to cut another than $4 million-plus.

“If that happens, I really don’t know how we will be able to educate our students,” Kuryla said. “Board members said such a budget would be devastating. I think it’s more unimaginable. I don’t think people will recognize our schools anymore if we have to cut even further.”

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