Projections unveiled at the Syracuse City School District budget meeting last night could push the total number of positions the district has eliminated since 2009 to more than 1,000.
The district's proposed budget calls for the elimination of as many as 95 full-time positions next year. In addition to retirements and vacancies that won't be replaced, the budget includes 63 layoffs.
Syracuse Teachers Association representative Kevin Ahern expressed frustration after the meeting.
“We are already working at bare minimum in terms of staffing district-wide and we can't afford to lose any more positions. Class sizes are huge at every grade level, there's less adults working with kids,” said Ahern.
Pension and health benefit costs to the district have risen sharply, accounting for nearly a quarter of the total budget says Chief Financial
Officer Suzanne Slack.
“You have seen 30 percent increases year after year, for the last four years, and it's gotten to the point where it's just not affordable. We're trying to get the state to pay aid to the pension fund and we're not able to put more teachers in the classroom,” said Slack.
The district is hopeful there will be fewer layoffs than expected -- Slack says the district has been able to re-hire laid off teachers and faculty in recent
There will be two public hearings on the budget before it is finalized in May.