Fulton Taxpayer: Cut From The Top, Not The Bottom, To Balance School Budget

A taxpayer urged the Fulton Board of Education to take another look at plans to cut teaching positions to deal with a huge budget deficit.

Heather Crofoot, who works with the Head Start preschool program at Oswego County Opportunities, said, “What I read is we’re going to cut front line staff. We’re going to cut programs that meet the needs of the students. Why is it front line (positions being eliminated) and why is it starting at the bottom?”

The district’s $60.8 million proposed budget, still in draft form, raises the tax levy 3.8% and cuts 18 teaching and clerical jobs. It does not cut an administrative position, though two of the positions to be cut are teacher-on-special-assignment jobs. Those jobs have been used to perform administrative tasks. The current school year budget cut 10 positions, two of which were administrative.

Crofoot noted that her husband had to take a 10% pay cut at his job because of the economy. “I don’t hear that this is happening here,” she said. The district’s contract with two of its unions, including the teachers’ union, expires at the end of the school year.

“There isn’t a person up here who doesn’t agnoize over what to include (in cutbacks),” said board member Brian Hotaling. “It’s not a fun job.” “Sometimes your hands are tied,” said board president Robert Ireland. “You want to do what’s best for everybody.”

Later, the board reviewed the second draft of the proposed 2010-11 budget. Nothing had changed from the last review. There had been some hope that the State Senate’s budget proposal, approved Monday, would restore some of the $1.4 billion Gov. Paterson proposes to cut from education aid. The proposal did restore money for state parks, such as Fort Ontario, and for a host of other programs but it did not appear that education aid had been modified.

District financial administrator Kathy Nichols noted a late report Tuesday that said the state Assembly’s budget proposal would reduce education aid cuts to $800 million.

The state budget is due April 1. It is often late, occasionally by many months. School districts must adopt their budgets by mid-April and face the prospect of not knowing exactly how much aid they will be receiving.

It would be nice to count on an improved state aid picture, Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch said, but “we have to be sure that what the state offers us, they’ll actually give us.” He noted that school districts barely escaped state aid cuts in the middle of the current school year.


  1. I agree completely with Ms. Crofoot – start at the TOP! If you can’t cut administrative positions at least cut their outrageous salaries. There are 21 administrative positions – you cannot tell me that all are obsolutely needed. But instead of cutting the jobs of the board croonies they cut services to out children. Way to go Board and Mr. Superintendent – you should be ashamed of yourselves!

  2. Ms. Crofoot has got it right!!! We need to take a hard look at these administrative positions. I’m sure some can be cut if the board is really objective about their analysis. I’m not sure the superintendent and school board are really capable of making and objective decision about budget cuts when it involves anyone above a teachers aid position. The teacher cuts they propose will in the end mean retirements and the taxpayers will pay anyway. The taxpayers are not stupid, we do see through your smoke and mirrors process. I’m for the Hew Hampshire process, fire all the teachers and start over. Maybe they will get it right a second time.

  3. The school board must insist that CEO Bill Lynch come to them with a proposal for a $0 increase in taxes. He is the person who knows where all the dollars are being spent and the person with the broadest perspective and knowledge of how to do it.

    Unlike school districts in Syracuse, Hannibal and Oswego, Fulton taxpayers have heard of no proposal that considers closing an elementary school despite the overcapacity. We have seen no decisions by Bill Lynch to reduce administrative staff or reduce their salaries and benefits. We have seen no demands that the unions make salary or benefit concessions… only the usual boilerplate about having a contract that must be honored. BS… everything is negotiable and reductions may be more preferable to the unions than cutting numerous jobs. Just ask thousands of other central NY union employees who have already reopened contracts and made concessions to save their jobs. Everyone is hurting and its time for school district employees to do their part or work elsewhere.

    The state budget cuts are not a surprise to anyone who watches the news or reads the paper. The administration and board have had more than a year to get things done, but refuse to make the difficult decisions… in my opinion because the board is NOT independent of the administration and staff in the district.

    Taxpayers are fed up with annual school tax increases they can no longer afford. School board… make the difficult decisions or resign and put some business people in charge.

  4. Its seems that the Fulton School district does not care about the education of the students. The impression I get is the administrators are greedy people and do not care about the students. There are to many administrators on 4th street. Cut from the top, lets not take a step backward Fulton. Then cut from the bottom, custodians, grounds crew, hall monitors. Teachers shape the future. Remember the city with one?

  5. Well it seems that the powers to be are now into censorship. A copy of this article was posted on the bulletin board at 4th Street but within an hour it was removed. What’s the matter administrators – does the truth hurt!

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