Budget and Big Picture School Focus of Recent School Board Meeting

The Oswego City School District Board of Education conducted its regular meeting on March 26 at the Education Center Board Room.

Superintendent of Schools Bill Crist presented an overview of his proposed budget, but work on the process will continue during the upcoming April 9 meeting.  He proposed a budget of $78,439,112 which is 2.4% more than the current budget.

Crist noted that some of the revenue numbers are tentative at this time as the state budget process continues, there is discussion of further state aid, and a proposed “smoothing” of the Employee and Teacher Retirement System payments.  He expected further information to be available for the April 9 meeting.

He also indicated the desire to put a replacement proposition of a dozen buses before the voters on May 21. This would included seven 66 passenger budgets, two seven passenger Suburban’s as well as two 30 passenger buses and a 30 passenger wheelchair bus. The total cost would be $99,790, but state aid would provide $670,859 back to the district.

In other action the board continued to address the desire to maintain and enhance the alternative “big picture school” which is currently housed in the portables at the Oswego Middle School.

A committee consisting of board members Lynda Sereno, Sam Tripp, Kathleen Allen, parents Sonya Burnett and Valerie Orr, students Amber Lagoe and Brett Collins along with teacher Mark Bankowski and administrators Superintendent of Schools Bill Crist, Assistant
Superintendent of Instruction and Curriculum Cathleen Chamberlain and the alternative high school principal Debra Smith examined numerous sites around the Oswego area to see where it would be possible to expand the school.

Property owned, in part, by Board President John Dunsmoor was deemed to be a suitable location for the school and the process took a step forward on Tuesday night as the board approved, by a 5-0 vote, a conditional lease of the Northeast Sports Complex at 80 Dutch Road in the Town of Scriba.

However, it will take legal action to determine if the property can be leased. The Oswego City School District is seeking a date with the Supreme Court to seek permission to work with the current board president in use of the property.

The district plans on leasing property for the use of  “The Buc” and after looking at numerous properties which included the Best Kept Secrets Building on West First Street, former law offices at 283 West Second Street, the Port City Logistics Warehouse at 351 E. Seneca Street, the former St. John’s School,  as well as Fairway Manor, and
Public School #2 as well as a union hall across the street on East Seneca Street, the committee determined that the Northeast Sports Complex would be best suited for the district needs.

Renovations would be made by the owner of the property.

The process is expected to be lengthy, but the board of education desired to move forward in an effort to be prepared for the start of the 2013-14 school year.

In other board action  the board recognized the Oswego Fire Department, the Oswego Police Department and the Emergency Room staff from Oswego Health for their response to a bus accident that injured a half dozen Oswego students in early March.

State bowling qualifier Matt Clemons also was recognized for his accomplishments.

In regular action the board approved the first reading of several policies and approved the 2013-14 Oswego City School District Instructional Calendar.

Under “Instruction” approval was granted for the Oswego Middle School French Club to go to Montreal on June 19-20 instead of May 21-June 1, textbooks were approved for grades three through six in the English Language Arts area and numerous summer grants were accepted.

In the “Personnel” area Andrea Poor resigned as the girls modified lacrosse head coach, and leaves of absence were granted to Kelli Proulx and Heather Lewis.  Drama Club co-advisors Sarah Bradstreet and Angela Bandla were approved. Suzanne Fox was named as an OMS after school study table supervisors.

The board approved a Section 71 termination of an employee as the result of an absence from a position for a year of more due to a continuing disability. Leaves of absences were also granted to Brian Green, Kathy Tice and Gail Iosue. Joann Stoutenger was approved as a probationary appointment as a main production food preparer while Melanie Hiller was given permanent appointment as a Senior LAN Technician. Patti Wyman was also appointed as a food service helper part time. Ware Andrews was accepted as a temporary computer aide.

Approval was also given for the student helper program as well as numerous substitute and temporary employees and the board approved posting of an OHS Team Leader for Special Programs and Frederick Leighton Team Leaders for Primary and Intermediate Grades.

Under “Finance” budget transfers were approved for the purchase of student desks and chairs as well as end of year expenses in buildings and grounds.

The contract between Families and School Together and the district was accepted as was the three year contract with Butler Disposal Systems for trash and recyclable removal. The board also accepted donations from Benefit Consulting Group, POMCO and Workplace Health Solutions as well as approved use of school facilities for Pride Softball and Move Along Inc.

The Oswego City School District Board of Education will gather again on April 9 for committee meetings beginning at 5 p.m. at the Education Center, 120 E. First Street.