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Proposal would require new Syracuse school district hires live in city

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News File Photo
Syracuse Schools Interim Superintendent Jaime Alicea (center) at the Syracuse Common Council.

The Syracuse Common Council is expected to vote Monday on a request that the city’s school board require new hires to live in the city of Syracuse. Nearly 60 percent of all employees in the district do not live in the city.

The statistic is worse for teachers and administrators; close to 75 percent of them do not live in the district. Councilor Susan Boyle wants that to change.

“We want to see people who earn off the city tax dollars living in the city and reinvesting in the city," Boyle said. "It’s going to be basically the foundation of our city. We need to keep the tax dollars in the city and spending in the city and investing in the city. I think there is a movement to push for that in every area of hiring.”

Boyle said she has spoken with school board members who said this requirement is something they would seriously consider.

"The goal is to have people living in the community, working with the students, knowing the culture of the students, invested in the schools personally, with their own families, would be ideal," Boyle said.  

Many of the councilors said they are for it but one concern is that there will not be enough applicants in Syracuse to fill openings. The policy would allow for a special waiver process to get those positions filled with non-city residents if need be. Substitute teachers would be exempt. A majority of food service, bus monitors and custodians currently live in the city. But the higher the salary, the more likely the position is filled by an outside resident.

"The highest paying jobs are the least likely to be city residents and we really need to get around that," Boyle said.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.