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More layoffs planned for the Syracuse school district

The Syracuse school district is asking for more staff layoffs. The district will make the request for more layoffs at a special school board meeting later this week.

On Thursday, the district will ask the board of education to lay off 35 more employees in next years budget. These cuts will be mostly from the central office but also from the ranks of teachers and teaching assistants, according to Suzanne Slack, the district's chief financial officer.

Slack says this brings the total number of proposed layoffs in the budget proposal to 85. Originally, only 50 layoffs were estimated. She calls the move financially responsible.

"We felt, with the budget we've brought forward already, that those are the reductions that are sustainable; that we can live with those budget cuts and still provide good programming in the schools. We felt that we needed to go back one more time to the central office and ask what things we could do without next year," Slack said.

It's been a more difficult year than usual for the district because its fund balance, or savings account, is pretty much as low as it can go.

The district started the year looking at a $35 million budget gap for next year. Some extra state aid and cuts, including closing a school, has whittled that down to $24 million.

In order to close the gap in the $366 million spending plan, the district is proposing borrowing the $24 million in advance of future state aid. The Syracuse Common Council will vote on the plan, which is included in the overall city budget, next week.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.