SCSD's $24 Million Budget Deficit Might Not be as Bad as it Seems

Feb 27, 2018

A gap of $24 million in the Syracuse City School district budget might not sound good.  But Chief Financial Officer Suzanne Slack says it’s actually smaller than past years. 

"We usually have between a $30 and $40 million gap each year that we work to close through the budget process. When we came in under 30 we were a little bit excited about that. It's still a problem, but to know that it's going in the right direction was a bit of a surprise." 


The graduation rates at three community colleges in Central New York are going up, according to a new study.  However it also finds that only one-in-four students are graduating in three years.

John Smith/WAER News

Syracuse City Schools 8th graders are getting to explore what future careers might be for them.  The Career and Technical Education Expo was held Wednesday at the Public Service leadership Academy at Fowler.

Twenty-six programs covering professions such as the expanding drone industry, cosmetology and becoming an electrician or a welder were on display. 

8th graders will soon choose if a C-T-E track of study is right for them as they enter 9th grade.  All it takes is a fulfilling experience that leads to a spark of interest.

file photo / WAER News

Green Party Candidate for Syracuse Mayor Howie Hawkins pointed to the crumbling condition of the Westside Academy at Blodgett today as an example of the inequality of education in the city. Hawkins scolded the Joint School construction board for failing to make the school a priority, leaving families uncertain about the future.

New Yorkers with student loans might work in jobs that can knock off part of the debt. But bad advice about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is leaving people left out and facing heftier payments than they planned.

The four candidates for Syracuse mayor acknowledge the city's future hinges on the city school district on many levels, from reducing poverty to attracting families. But they each have different perceptions on how schools are performing. Republican Laura Lavine is calling for mayoral control of the district. The career educator and administrator says it's what voters ask about the most.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

The newly-approved state budget makes impacts on public schools, as well as the ability to continue through college.  But increased education aid still leaves questions for schools and students. 

Always controversial, overall state aid to school districts rose more than a $1 billion in the state’s spending plan.  New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Tim Kremer thinks the extra aid hits the right targets.

An international conference on character education in Washington included a Central New Yorker spreading his word on how story-telling can work at schools, in business and in our communities.  The idea might not just build character; it could also be a remedy to our current divisive politics.

Some from the education sector and form the corporate world believe building character is important for good students and good employees.

  The swift closure of I-T-T Technical Institute in Liverpool has placed many students in a precarious situation.  Some other colleges are looking at the closing as an opportunity for students to apply.  The Dean of University College at Syracuse University, Bea Gonzalez says it’s very possible that some I-T-T class credits will transfer over.

Karen DeWitt / WXXI News

The newly elected Chancellor to the Board of Regents,  Betty Rosa , expressed grave doubts about the state’s use of standardized tests in the schools, saying if she were not on the Board of Regents, she would join the opt out movement and not permit her children to take the tests.