One Person Speaks At Final Budget Hearing

OSWEGO, NY – Residents of the Oswego City School District had one last chance Tuesday night to voice their opinion on the proposed $74,848,045 budget for the next school year.

Only Sam Sugar, a candidate for the board of education, took the opportunity to speak.

Sam Sugar speaks at Tuesday's school board meeting.
Sam Sugar speaks at Tuesday's school board meeting.

However, some, board members included, had concerns after Superintendent Bill Crist completed his overview of the spending plan.

The budget can be viewed at the district’s web site at

When school district residents go to the polls in a couple of weeks, they will be asked to vote on a $74,848,045 that contains a zero percent tax levy increase and doesn’t close a school.

The final budget number was the same Tuesday, but some of the budget details weren’t the same as when the board reviewed the budget last month before approving it.

“It is somewhat different,” Crist said, adding it is basically still the same budget.

Three administrative cuts had been slated, Director of Grants and Partnerships, Security director, and a high school principal that was going to be moved to fill a vacancy at the middle school.

The board has opted to keep the security position and instead terminate the School Resource Officer position.

The board approved the dollar amount, Crist said. That part of the budget didn’t change, he added.

“All you gave us was (the number) what you’re going to spend,” Sugar said during the public hearing.

He also asked why the district would consider cutting a science teacher and leave 133 students without a science teacher next year.

He favored more administrative cuts. Those who hang on this year are going to be cut next year, he told the board.

“That budget will not sustain them,” he said. “Why throw away money on useless expenditures and deny basic requirements? We’re a Regents school for crying out loud.”

He also challenged the district to show why smaller class sizes are better for students.

“I’ve never met anyone or read anything in print that said 20 to 22 or 23 to 25 (students in a class) has any basis in academic literature, any basis in academic studies. Where did these numbers come from?” he said.

Later, during the public session of the regular meeting, he said hiring a consultant to study the possibility of closing a school was “a great idea.”

However, he wanted somebody impartial from outside the district to consult with the consultant.

“Many of our studies we might as well not have spent the money. Because those who are setting up the study usually have a predetermined agenda and the study comes back exactly the way they want,” he said. “What I want to see is a consultant to consult with the consultant. I want someone who’s unbiased with no agenda to set the stage.”

“People are concerned about whether their taxes are going to go up,” said board president Sam Tripp. “The bottom line is that we have a budget with a zero percent tax levy hike. We’ll have to see what the voters think about it.”

The public vote on the budget is set for May 18. Polls will be open from noon until 9 p.m.


  1. It seems to me that either Mr. Crist and/or Mr. Colucci should be fired for adding back administrators to the budget. A 4-3 majority of the board issued a very clear directive that administration needed to be cut from the budget, and Crist and Colucci found a backdoor method to avoid it because they feel the administration should be exempt from any amount of a workload. Given that the board is the boss of the superintendents, and the superintendents violated the will of the board, the firing of one or both of these individuals would be highly justified. Not to mention, firing them both would save us $250,000 in the budget plus their benefits!

    I feel this is yet another reason to say “NO” to the budget. We have a budget that grew 8.78% and will result in certain future tax increases, simply to support a bloated bureaucracy of do-nothing administrators.

  2. We need to support this year’s budget and pass it. If we do not, the district IS NOT planning to close a school. They will, instead, cut elementary art, music, and librarians. I know I do not want that for my children, do you? It is a 0% tax increase, so vote for it please!

  3. A 0% tax increase this year, and 30% next year to support the increased 9% in spending? No thanks. I’m voting no. There is entirely too much waste in the proposed budget. They need to cut the fat so that our tax increase for the next year can be kept minimal.

  4. Jane,

    Please don’t fall for Crist’s scare tactics. I think it would be prudent for you to contact board members and ask them outright what they will want to cut if the budget fails. Then make an informed decision about how to vote.

    Amanda, I too, picked up on the vote to cut 4 admin. and suddenly we are cutting 1. This problem needs to be rectified asap! No wonder Crist does what he wants, apparently there is no one for him to answer to. :(

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