Incumbents Maintain Their School Board Seats, Budget Passed

voting booth

OSWEGO, NY – Voters in the Oswego City School District Tuesday returned two incumbents to their seat on the board of education.

The proposed budget for the coming year was approved also.

Garnering the most votes was Lynda Sereno, the current board vice president, with an unofficial count of 1,398.

Tom DeCastro tallied the second most votes with an unofficial total of 1,310.

In third place was former board member Fran Hoefer with an unofficial tally of 1,027.

The final count for the budget was 1,150 yes, and 1.079 no.

“I am so excited,” Sereno told Oswego County Today. “I am happy to be able to serve another term. I am also so thankful that the budget passed. It was close for a while.”

“I am happy to be coming back for another term,” DeCastro said. “Everything passed, thank God.”

The two board members agreed that the budget process must start earlier for the 2016-17 school year.

“We have to start earlier – a lot earlier,” DeCastro said. “Albany didn’t help this year. Not knowing where we are in negotiations doesn’t help, either.”

“We definitely need to get an earlier start on the budget process,” Sereno agreed.

The tax rate for this school year is $19.72 per $1,000 assessed and the tax rate for the 2015-16 school budget will be $21.19, resulting in an increase of $135.01 for a $100,000 home, according to Superintendent Ben Halsey.

Besides voting on the budget,

Proposition 2 was on the purchase of eight 66-passenger school buses and one wheelchair bus, at a total estimated maximum cost of $999,500. (1,212 yes to 993 no)

Proposition 3 was shall the board of education be allowed to liquidate $650,000 from the liability reserves to support the 2015-16 general fund budget. (1,244 yes to 871 no)

And proposition 4 – shall the annual proposition be approved authorizing an annual appropriation of $1,189,701 to operate the Oswego Public Library, and to support and maintain such library, which sum shall be raised annually by tax upon the taxable property of the Oswego City School District until changed by a further vote of a majority vote of the electors of the Oswego City School District, and shall be levied and collected yearly as are other general taxes? (1,262 yes to 804 no).


  1. Clearly ignorance is bliss as these two are celebrating and thanking God for a 10% tax increase that will leave people in this city choosing between their tax bill or food on the table for their families.

    Unfortunately, those of us who tried to vote everything down and to elect Fran need to suffer the consequences of the fact that most voters stayed home and allowed OCTA to run the show once again.

    It’s very sad. Sereno and DeCastro have been blessed with a fortunate life, and all the more power to them. But please, save the gloating and have some compassion for the people whom you have inflicted harm upon with these outrageous tax increases.

  2. Anybody want to buy a house?…any teachers? Cheap! I want out of this wallet-destroying nightmare of a city…so does everyone else like me. Make the teachers live within the city limits & then they’ll see their greed for what it is, family-destroying! To those who chose not to vote, don’t complain when you get hit with this latest increase & you have a hungry kid or two wanting McDonald’s Happy Meals and you can’t buy them one because the teachers have to have Surf-N-Turfs! OCTA, you’ll get yours once you run the likes of myself & others out of here & it will be ulcer-inducing to you come cut-time! IT WILL HAPPEN!

  3. The two comments appearing here reflect the animosity and hate filled rhetoric spewed by the Hoeferites that has ripped this community apart. Surf and turf..really???? Happy meals???? Maybe the District should re-up efforts on nutritional education. Thank you to those who voted yesterday. Is there work to be done on cutting the budget? You bet there is, but to solely blame the teachers is foolish. A closer look needs to be taken regarding the number of administrators and their salaries (from the top down). Maybe someone should look at all the money being spent to teach to the state mandated standardized tests also.

  4. Hey Muin…there’s “teachers” in this district making over 120 grand…there’s room for serious cutbacks! You say this community has been ripped apart by “hoeferites”? Really? You seem only worried about your teacher friends that aren’t even a part of this community since they don’t live here to avoid the taxes their greed imposes on the rest of us!

  5. Did you read the PallTimes yesterday? Oswego City School District’s taxes are still lower per household than the other districts that were mentioned. Stop whining. Is it illegal to make 120 grand? That’s what happens when you have worked in a career for a long time and are dedicated to the profession. Stop whining. Many teachers do live in Oswego and do pay taxes and will pay the $135 increase, that will be refunded anyways. Stop whining. Are you jealous? Do you want surf-n-turf? Do teachers wine and dine themselves with surf-n-turf? No, it’s your hypocritical notion. Stop whining.

  6. Just a quick note ….. This is the second and last year of the state rebate program

  7. Teacher friends? I know quite few teachers and they all live within the District (remember, the District covers not just the city of Oswego, but also Minetto, parts of Scriba, Granby and Oswego Town) and none of them even approach the salary you suggest. The figure of $120,000 is a “fact” that belongs in the antagonistic rhetoric and falsehoods that are just thrown out there. I know school administrators making close to, or in excess of, this amount also. Many politicians both state and federal level also make close to, or in excess of, this amount. All paid with our tax dollars. Why go after just the teachers?

  8. To S.stop W.whining:

    To make the implication that because Oswego City school taxes are reasonable because they are lower than other districts in Oswego County (or the state of New York) is like saying a Ferrari is a cheap car because it is priced lower than a Lamborghini, Bentley or Porsche.

    A Ferrari is not cheap and Oswego City School taxes are not reasonable by any stretch of the imagination, nor are school tax rates across the entire state of New York. Our public education system is expensive and ineffective. The state’s worthless school administrators add zero value. The combined salary, lifetime pension plan, and platinum health care benefits that are awarded to our public school teachers for 180 days of work per year are simply bleeding the taxpayers dry.

    It’s easy for someone who has never spent a day of their life working in the private sector to “thank God” for the fact that the teachers turned out to vote and passed a high tax rate.

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