According to Local SYR, the spending plan was presented to the Syracuse Board of Education on February 14 and calls for a 4.7% increase in annual spending ($437.2 million) — which is $19.6 million more than last year. The current plan calls for a withdrawal of $12 million from the funding to help close the significant gap.
Additionally, the Syracuse City School District plans on asking New York to provide $12 million in aid for the rest of the financing.
Superintendent Jamie Alicea believes the financial burden on the district could affect public school programs. This may include extracurricular activities like clubs and sports. In the spring of 2016, 13.46 million people played softball or baseball in the United States. Could public school students be missing out on these opportunities in the future?
“We have a lot of different unique challenges in a diverse district that may require more resources than any other district in the state,” said Derrick Dorsey, Syracuse City School District Board President.
Additionally, the Board of Education specifically addressed tuition for area charter schools during the meeting. Budget expenses for the upcoming school year include $27.8 million for charter tuition. More than 8% of all public school students in the district are currently enrolled in charter schools, and that number is projected to increase.
“All families deserve to choose a great school for their children, and they shouldn’t have to move to the suburbs to find them,” added Andrea Rogers Barry of the Northeast Charter Schools Network.
The $24.3 million yearly gap is approximately 6% of the entire budget, That amount is expected to nearly double over the next four years, though the district’s tax revenues are currently flat.
“We are not anti-charter school,” Dorsey added. “But charter schools can turn people away and we can’t.”